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WildCardCorsair

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Posts posted by WildCardCorsair


  1. I'm with Steve as well. I wish 999 had a PSN port too and have VLR from VIta as well. I can probably skip 999 and start on VLR, but don't want to miss important story. I don't have a DS either to play 999 or iOS for the mobile version. :-/

     

    You don't even have one of the backwards compatible 3DSs?


  2. THE GAME HAS RECOMMENDED LEVELS IN DUNGEONS SO I TRY TO FOLLOW THEM! BUT AFTER SPENDING SEVERAL HOURS GRINDING IN A DUNGEON I WAS LIKE "I don't really care for the storytelling all that much (right now). So this grind... is kind of doing nothing for me. I know this combat system by now.". But I was probably being inefficient (at the same time I like having well-rounded job/character leveling so there is some degree of challenge in the boss fights.).

     

    It starts out like that but once you start getting the new classes it gets pretty fun, plus Yew is 2cutie. Good gravy!


  3. Yeah could have been a contract thing for Star Wars, or Tt could have been lucky enough to get access to cut scenes that had dialogue they could use, so that's another possibility.

    Also I'm pretty glad to hear you're enjoying Fire Emblem! For what people say (rightly so, most of the time) about that game's plot the game play and improved mechanics are still the best in that series to date. Plus the classes being all eastern themed in Birthright are super fun. Ninjas riding dragon puppets? How in the hell can you say no to that?! By being a terrible human being, that's how! I'M LOOKING AT YOU JON.

     

    P.S. Neat feature!

    • Like 1

  4. Anyways great list! Man I need to check out Severed and others. We need to play some more Overwatch sometime. Though I do know you do with barrel and others while I work lol.

     

    You know I'm down. Do you usually work odd hours? If you've got time off we'll get it done!

     

    I THOUGHT YOU HATED POKEMON SUN/MOON. WHY IS IT ON YOUR GOTY LIST?!

     

    But yeah, a few of these games on this list remind me just how oppressive my backlog is. I think I only got a few endings in ZTD before I got dragged into playing other stuff. Mankind Divided is still in shrink wrap. Severed is a Vita icon that remains unclicked. Bravely Second I played... halfway? Probably less. I think I was put off by the grind at a time when I did too much of it in games I played before it (I'M A MASTER OF CHOMPCRAFT THO.).

     

    BUT YES. OVERWATCH IS GREAT. LET'S PLAY MORE (FFXIV) OVERWATCH.

     

    Man unless you're too proud or something, drop that difficulty in BS. I love the fantastic options it has like speeding up fights, having customizable preset auto-battle you can save, raising/lowering/downright turning off random encounters... Few other "classic" turn-based RPGs are so willing to let you bend/break the rules of the traditional RPG grind as Bravely Second does. So I dun wanna hear it :P. Plus if you get those chains going... you can max out jobs super quick.

     

    BUT I DIGRESS.

     

    Yes. MOAR OVERWATCH. (and maybe FFXIV :P)


  5. Great list! I loved Severed sooooo much! 

     

    Should I wait to play Zero Time Dilemna and Virtue's Last Reward until 999 comes to PlayStation?

     

    As long as you play both before ZTD you're golden. In fact if you aren't big on puzzles there's a phone app for 999 that cuts out all puzzle bits and lets you just experience the story. It's great for catching up quick since ZTD and VLR are way more user friendly about going through multiple paths for the true ends, but 999 really isn't. Hopefully they fix that with the new ports, but there's a chance they can't/won't.


  6. Nice list! Great to see some more love for TMS#FE out there. Pretty surprised by Style Savvy too, I always write those kinds of games off as being subpar stuff forced onto little girls cause parents and family don't know any better. You know, like Imagine Babyz or something. Glad to know it isn't.

    • Like 1

  7. End of the year lists are fun for me, mostly because it allows me to reflect on the things I loved about video games during the whole year. Typing these out and remembering "Oh yeah, that really was a good game" is like a wonderful trip down gaming memory lane. One that you, dear readers, can take with me!

     

    I had less trouble than I thought picking my 10; in fact I had a few fight just to get on. I guess that makes 2016 a pretty good year (in gaming at least... sheesh!) and as excited as I was for many of the games on my list, I know 2017 is going to be just as good. Until then though, I had lots of releases to keep me busy, the best of which (in my opinion, at least) are below. So read and enjoy, or fight me, whatever!

     

     

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    10. Pokemon Sun/Moon

    I“ve had my share of criticisms of the seventh generation Pokemon games Sun and Moon but that doesn“t mean I don“t like them. For one, they finally gave me the thing I“ve always wanted: a slow and public death for HMs. Sun/Moon even gave me things I never knew I wanted, like island trials, which even on their worst day are still more fun than gym leaders. Trials even allowed for better characterization of the trainers of their island, which lent to an already more intimate Pokemon journey than we“ve had in a very long time. Even catching the same Pokemon for the unpteenth time was more fun with the addition of regional variants. At the end of the day this game may come in last on my list, but it doesn“t come in last in my heart, for what that“s worth!

     

     

     

     

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    9. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ~Welcome Amiibo~

    What? Didn“t this game come out like 4 years ago? It might have, but right when I think I“m finally done with it the Welcome Amiibo update hits, bringing features, improvements, and content for days. Seriously. How is a guy supposed to move on? Entirely new villagers to invite, vast improvements to the ease of filling your town with the villagers you want most, a much needed expanded storage system, two new minigames that are tied to two of a slew of new furnishings, even the ease of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer“s interior designing UI are all now in the game you could have sworn you were done playing. The update is so hefty it really could have been called an expansion. I was already just shy of 400 hours, but I have no doubts I“ll hit the big four-oh-oh now.

     

     

     

     

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    8. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

    It“s funny, that the largest criticism I“ve heard about Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was how similar it is to Human Revolution. It might have been a problem, I think, if it had been less than the five-year-long hiatus the series took between installments. Instead, the game expands the Deus Ex world, which has managed to become somehow even worse for Augmented citizens. It“s sad to say but the plot -- despite its solid Sci-Fi theme -- feels all too real in our current day and age. Even though the game kept some of the things I wish it hadn“t (*coughgridbasedinventorycough*) it still has fantastic level design and unparalleled freedom in how you approach the missions you are given. So yes, it“s more Adam Jensen. I definitely asked for this.

     

     

     

     

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    7. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

    I“ll admit, I never played the original, but after both Muramasa Rebirth and Dragon“s Crown, there was no question in my mind I needed to. Leifthrasir, however unpronounceable the name is, proved to live up to my every expectation for a Vanillaware game. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous, with it“s hand drawn character animations and magnificent backgrounds. The entire game belongs on the side of some epic van mural. The action is no slouch either, with a combat system that keeps the action fast and fun, like a perfect mix of Muramasa and Dragon“s Crown. The high-fantasy Norse-inspired theme even gives it that little extra bit of charm. Really, there are really very few reasons not to check out this game. So what are you waiting for?

     

     

     

     

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    6. Kirby Planet Robobot

    Ok I“m really not the world“s biggest Kirby fan, in fact I suspect that might be Jon, but I digress. Kirby: Planet Robobot truly surprised me, mixing classic Kirby action with a new mechanic that didn“t focus the game too tightly around it, some fun new mini games, and of course you can“t go wrong with amiibo support. It even has a lot of call backs to Kirby“s long history, which I“m sure Jon already discussed to the point of beating a dead horse so I won“t touch it, but what I will say is that I enjoyed it even more than I did Triple Deluxe (which I did enjoy). Plus there“s a freaking mech suit, man. Come on, how do you top that?

     

     

     

     

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    5. Bravely Second

    I know I got a lot of… fiddle faddle for having the original Bravely Default on my GOTY list way back when. However, being the stubborn (and always correct) person that I am, I stand by that decision. What Bravely Default did right, it did in spades. A well thought out and nothing short of revolutionary combat system sold me that game in a big way and its sequel, Bravely Second continues that proud tradition, but fixes some of the more infuriating plot devices of the first. It even adds some cooler jobs (Catmancer, hello!). If you passed on Second because of Default, let me be the first (or perhaps only latest) person to tell you, you“ve made a huge mistake.

     

     

     

     

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    4. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

    Sometimes it“s hard to imagine that a game like Tokyo Mirage Sessions exists. Nintendo collaborating with Atlus to produce an RPG for Wii U that combines the fundamental elements of the Fire Emblem series with that of Atlus“s Shin Megami Tensei games (including elements of Persona) -- well pinch me cause this year Christmas came in June!

     

    Aside from the multifaceted combat system and game“s rich Japanese idol culture premise (both of which are highly enjoyable by the way), the game manages to do the one thing few other games on Wii U ever do… make the gamepad make sense. Aside from a functional map, the game uses the bottom screen like a cell phone, allowing you to receive (and occasionally send) text messages to your friends, all of which feel like message convos taken from my actual phone.

     

    TMS's cast of characters are as charming as they are genuine, hardly the typical JRPG tropes seen in other games. The side missions are incredibly worth it, and the designs for both mirages and main characters alike are unforgettable, especially when the game“s solo mechanic kicks in, treating you to a miniature concert as an impressive mirage attack occurs. Sure, it“s got tons of style, but TMS#FE has plenty of substance too!

     

     

     

     

     

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    3. Zero Escape Vol. 3: Zero Time Dilemma

    This is one of those video games in which I almost can“t say anything because SPOILERS. But the third game in Kotaro Uchikoshi“s Zero Escape series, for those of you who haven“t had the pleasure of playing them, is somewhere firmly between SAW and The Butterfly Effect (minus that goon Ashton Kutcher).

     

    The puzzles in this series are well thought out but seem to be harder in this installment, giving the most challenge I“ve encountered in this series to date. The game also hilariously has an ending you can earn in the very first minute -- if you“re lucky. But you probably aren“t so prepare to die… a lot! I honestly wouldn“t recommend playing this without playing the first two first, cause you“ll be more lost than the S.S. Minnow, but if you like a good survival horror/sci-fi-ish/VN/puzzle/psychological thriller loaded with fringe science theory and cat puns this is definitely your game.

     

     

     

     

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    2. Severed

    Imagine there“s this game system. PlayStation makes it, it“s a handheld. It has a gorgeous OLED screen, with touch capability and dual analog sticks. Now imagine the people who made other top tier games for this system that were fun, funny, and vibrant, they make a game that is about death, loss, and grief. You get to see what profound loss can turn you into if you aren“t careful. And it does all this with mostly images and very few words. And it plays like a grown up version of Infinity Blade mixed with an old school first person dungeon crawler.

     

    Well, you don“t have to imagine because all of this happened -- you probably just didn“t play it. The beauty and the pain portrayed in Severed is matched only by how simple and refined the combat is. It may not have the whimsy of their other games, but Severed is easily one of DrinkBox Studios“ best, and one of the best games overall on the Vita -- not just of this year, but of any year.

     

     

     

     

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    1. Overwatch

    It“s hard to quantify a single thing about Overwatch that pushed it to the top for me, because it isn“t a single thing, or even a few things. In truth what I liked about this game is everything.

     

    The characters are diverse and loads of personality, way more than they should considering there“s no actual story mode. Instead random character interactions and voice lines work well at giving you plenty of insight into their personalities, while additional material like the backstory and comics on Blizzard“s website fill in the gaps. The action itself is fun and frenetic, with enough updates, character and map additions, and special events to keep me playing all year. All of which were free, in fact.

     

    But at the end of the day I think the real deciding factor here is that the game is just fun, capitalizing on the things people loved about Splatoon and Team Fortress 2 and mashing them together for something that managed to stand out above just about every other game for me this year. And the best part is, I know I will still be playing this game around the time I begin to write next year“s GOTY list too.

     

    Click here to view the article


  8. If they give Harley more than 8 painfully uninspired 1-liners I would definitely be interested. It sounds like the movie we might finally see the Harley we all really love, not the silly eye candy one they forced on us in Suicide Squad. But then again this is the Snyder-verse so it will probably be garbage.


  9. I wanted to pose a unique question to you all who read or are invested in comic books, but first it requires a small history lesson so bare with me.

     

    Blue Beetle has been around a long time, but the third incarnation, Jaime Reyes is fairly new to comics canon. Back in 2011 during the Infinite Crisis storyline Ted Kord, previous Blue Beetle was killed, and his mystical scarab fell to (New) Earth and was found by Jaime Reyes, a El Paso high school student. Through that series, the post-Flashpoint "New 52" storyline and the current Rebirth storyline Jaime Reyes has continued to be the Blue Beetle. The 2011 series and New 52 series both had wonderful ties to my hometown of El Paso, which served as the setting for the book a good deal of the time. Landmarks were recreated, local slang used, the general look and feel was familiar to me. Being represented in comics by a person who not only shares my ethnic background, but shares the same local culture is a pretty indescribable feeling. I can only imagine this is what people in New York City have felt like for ages, with all the super heroes that exist there in various comics.

     

    Then Rebirth. Jaime Reyes is still Blue Beetle, and the book is still set in El Paso but none of the real life El Paso can be seen in the book. Names of places or streets are now made up and the general look of this "El Paso" doesn't look much like here at all. None of the social issues or unique cultural phenomenon that only we know (having a unique combination of being the 5th largest city in Texas, a border town with tens of thousands of people commuting to and from Mexico daily, and having an overwhelmingly Hispanic population). I'm otherwise enjoying the book but I can't help but have my opinion of it colored by it's current lack of what attracted me to the character in the first place.

     

    So, after all that... my question is: How important is representation to you in comics? Do you tend to gravitate to characters that have a shared ethnic background, sexual orientation, home town, or other such commonality? Do you find any of yourself in any characters from any comic (DC, Marvel, or other)? And would the sudden removal of those forms of representation drive you away from the said book? I ask because I'm struggling to keep my interest in the book. It's not bad by any means, but I guess it's one of those cases of "You don't know what you've got til it's gone." Currently I'm still reading Blue Beetle monthly but I don't know how much longer I can fight my urge to drop it now that it no longer feels like the setting and characters are as familiar to me as they once were.

     

     

    • Like 1

  10. I don't even remember what I was buying in, say, January or even like July because I've bought so much more since then that it all kinda runs together. 

     

    I hear ya. Normally I wouldn't be able to either but I usually take pictures of my purchases or keep track of them for game of the year list purposes, so it's just a matter of combing through my social feeds and working articles. By no means is my list complete lol, it's just the best reconstruction I have with all my recorded data.


  11. Wow, way to get me to be horrified at my own spending habits Jason!

    It's safe to say I've spent more this year than you, and I don't feel like this year is really out of the ordinary either so I feel like it's probably pretty ordinary. Hell, a quick tour of my Instagram probably totals what you've spent on gaming/gaming related stuff and that's about half of what I've actually bought...

    So let's see, as far as I know these are all the games and gaming related stuff I recall buying in 2016 so far.
    Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney HD Trilogy (was on sale)

    Shovel Knight amiibo

    Transistor, Bastion, Flower on PS4 and Rainbow Moon on Vita (during a flash sale)

    Fire Emblem Fates Special Edition

    Twilight Princess HD w/ Wolf Link amiibo

    Senran Kagura Estival Versus Endless Summer Editions for both PS4 and Vita

    Roy amiibo

    Trails of Cold Steel Lionheart Ed. for Vita (late to the party, I know)

    Final Fantasy Explorers 

    Hyrule Warriors Legends

    Odin Sphere Liefthrasir Storybook Edition for PS4

    Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Special Edition

    Zero Time Dilemma for 3DS

    Squid Sisters amiibos

    Monster Hunter Generations

    Corpse Party Back to School Ed. 

    Bravely Second End Layer (sadly not the special edition T-T)

    Deus Ex Mankind Divided for PS4

    Overwatch Origins Ed. for PS4

    Pokemon Moon

    Gravity Rush Remastered (physical)

    Kirby Planet Robobot and a Waddle Dee amiibo

    Angry God Beater 2: Hyperbolic Title X for Vita (another sale)

    AN XBOX ONE WITH 7 GAMES A FRIEND WAS SELLING

    Assorted DLCs and IAP for games including but not limited to Destiny's Rise of Iron expansion and at least $125 on Hearthstone's One Night in Karazhan, Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, and Whispers of the Old Gods sets.

    A gross amount spent on Disney Infinity figures and play sets (thankfully all on sale!)

     

    ...oh and Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus somewhere in there.

     

    So I guess barring console purchases a good average is upwards of 1k annually on game stuffs? Futz me no wonder I'm always broke.

    • Like 1

  12. It really doesn't if anything you're really left wanting more, but even for the price point I'd say it's still worth it. Also, don't get me started on Tearaway and Gravity Rush being criminally underplayed. I mean I guess the PS4 versions of those exist but in both cases they can hardly be called the definitive versions.

    BUT ALAS.

    Glad you picked it up, can't wait for you to play it!


  13. Developer: Drinkbox Studios
    Publisher: Drinkbox Studios
    Platform: PS Vita
    Release Date: April 26, 2016
    ESRB: Teen



    Death. A lot of video games have it. A whole lot. Not many of them really address what it is, though. Not the loss, not the feeling of failure. Severed -- the latest game from indie powerhouse Drinkbox Studios -- actually does, and in an interesting way. It does so not with words but through the imagery of the protagonist“s quest to find her missing family in the land of the dead. You play as Sasha, who finds herself not only without her mother, father, and brother, but without her right arm. The how and the why are unclear, but it becomes clear very quickly that just about everything in this world wants to kill you.

    Up until now Drinkbox has given players plenty of humorous games, from the Tales From Space games involving '50s inspired wanton alien destruction, to a dimensional barrier-punching luchador in Guacamelee, Drinkbox games have always had a good bit of humor to them. Severed is a different beast entirely. The game tasks you with rescuing your family members in a strange place filled with vicious monsters around every corner. Your first real success, and your first real failure is a shock to the system, setting the tone for this game, one that stands firmly apart from their previous games. Indeed, this game is about loss and reconciliation, sobering themes that clash boldly against the aesthetics that pervade Severed. And while the game is not chatty in the least, you still piece together a lot on your own simply from what you see while you“re navigating this foreign world. By the end it affected me more than it had any right to considering how little written narrative exists.

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    If you“ve heard or seen anything about Severed, I“m sure the game itself sounds like a cross between Fruit Ninja and Infinity Blade but it does more to surpass them both than any touchscreen game I've ever played. Combat is easy to learn, almost too easy in fact. Your first battle will leave you with a false sense of security that will be shattered moments later if you aren't careful. As the game progressed I found myself fighting not only more enemies, but tougher ones as well. Right up until the end combat remained challenging, upping the ante on a regular basis right along with upgrades and newly acquired abilities. Oh, and if you were at all worried, Severed is easily played with either your right or left hand.

    Severed“s enemies are also pretty well thought out. Because what good are fights without some ugly beasties to face the pointy end of your sword? With each new enemy, new strategies must be devised to fight them, meaning you can“t just flail about like some noob with a foam sword at his first LARP. No, you actually have to think on your feet. The order in which you defeat enemies is every bit as important as how you defeat them. Even more so, in fact, at the end of the game in which success and failure can literally depend on the order of your actions and not just your ability to rub your finger across the touchscreen really fast. I don“t want to say much about the various curveballs Drinkbox throws your way because I“d hate to give anything away about this game that I don“t absolutely have to, but my heart raced in nearly every battle, and when I won, I felt like I had earned it.

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    But fighting is only part of this game. When you aren“t fighting creepy crawly monster dudes you“ll find yourself navigating a series of dungeons. Each of the three major dungeons in the game have their own secrets to find and puzzles to solve. Now some of you will probably be groaning right about now, “More dungeon puzzles?é Rest assured, though, the puzzles never become stale and aren“t overused in the least, many of them are just as satisfying as the battles are.

    As you progress through the game, slicing up bad guys and the occasional boss, the same abilities you acquire will also work in dungeons, allowing you to access previously inaccessible areas of dungeons. Doing so can reward you with even more secret treasure stashes and even a couple super secret items (oooh!). So really, instead of Infinity Blade, think of a more compact, first-person version of Skyward Sword, but without all the riding around on giant bird. Oh, and without that awful stamina meter. Basically, Severed is a game that can easily rival other heavy hitters in the dungeon exploring business, but in a shorter venture which eliminates the need for more gimmicky, repetitive dungeon design and puzzles.

    Severed is easy on the eyes, too. Augusto “Cuxoé Quijano (Concept Lead) and Stephen Goulet (Art Director) aimed to create a rich world inspiried by non-euro-centric cultures without being directly tied to any one of them, and I“d say the more than succeeded. The environments really shine with help from some deep hues and wonderful design. The colors alone are gorgeous enough to remark on but the striking images the game presents had a lasting affect on me long after the credits rolled.

    You see, the main character undergoes an incredible visual transformation, looking less and less human and more like the monstrous denizens of the world you“re journeying through (which I“m certain was the point and has some deeper meaning regarding the effect conflict and loss has on a person... but I ain“t no psychology major). Each time I passed by a mirror or opened up the upgrades menu I couldn“t help but notice the change. It felt strange seeing Sasha each time, and instead of feeling more powerful or confident, somehow I felt uneasy about the idea of her possibly trading her humanity for power. Heavy stuff man. And with some really atmospheric music that only enhances the visuals, Severed really does pull out all the stops to immerse you in this strange and frightening world.

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    Basically, if you want to feel good again about buying a Vita, buy Severed. It“s the game that will make you remember why you loved your neglected handheld again, like some kinda dark, touch based Danielle Steele novel. You“ll look at it, wistfully. You“ll admire how brilliantly it“s OLED screen shines (unless you got a 2000 series Vita I suppose). You“ll remember the soft feel of the warm screen that responds lasciviously to your every touch. Ok, so I may have gone a bit daytime soap there, but Severed is definitely sexy and you should play with it. The ever evolving fights remain consistently challenging and will test you in a way that never feels unfair. The dungeons are as fun to explore as they are wonderful to look at. And while the end of the game is a tad bit ambiguous, the theme of the game is never disrespected and the world in which it takes place is fascinating. It left me wanting more, something only a handful of other games have accomplished. It really is a game that belongs on every Vita.

     
    Pros


    + The world of Severed is exotic and enticing
    + Combat is frantic, exciting, and more complex that it seems
    + Dungeon design is cleverly paced, ability gated
    + Lefty friendly!

    Cons


    - I wish there was more


     
    Overall Score: 9 (Out of 10)
    Fantastic


    Severed“s core concept seems simple, but is sure to surprise Vita owners with it“s wealth of impressive design and gameplay features.


    Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher



    Click here to view the article

  14. I'm down. At the end of the day if this is more from the Metroid Prime universe that's only great for the franchise. We really know so little about anything but Samus and a handful of recurring enemies and considering this franchise is about a whole galaxy's worth of stuff that's pretty sad. Plus although the graphics look silly as hell, the gameplay actually looks pretty good so yeah, I'll play it.


  15. Good; you'll be playing through MegaTagmension Blanc vs the Zombies (or whatever it's called) shortly, lol. xD

     

    Haha actually since that one is a kinda sequel to the Neptunia U game it won't be nearly as taxing as a full length RPG :P

     

    And... I'm kinda looking forward to it. Sorry Barrel.


  16. Holy crap did this review improve from the time you had me look at it. Great job, dawg.

     

    Couldn't've done it without ya! Thanks again man.

     

     

    But anyway, it's interesting how they actually tied what I have considered as active retconning (since 2 and on, basically) into the actual central premise of this game's story w/ the different worlds. While I doubt I could justify playing it just for the storytelling, I have heard that one of the new characters is actually better developed than like anyone else in the series.

     

    All of the new characters are great additions. I enjoyed the Gold Third sub stories, which is where the trademark game industry referential humor is at it's best, especially regarding S-sha and E-sha (or perhaps I should just called the SE-sha..?) but yeah Uzume is a good character addition as well and I have no doubts that's who you're talking about.

     

     

    But... I knew I avoided this review for a reason. The things that have not changed annoy me even more than you and 3 (the original PS3 release or non-Vita remake). basically made me realize that they likely won't change in how I want them to so I will contentiously call people crazy for liking them...especially for 2 loli baths scenes in like the 1st hour of this game, apparently.

     

    Well there was tons of change in this one... just not all good and none of it what I and other's I've talked to (you included) have been asking for lol. Oops. I'm really hoping when 4 Goddesses Online comes out they'll lay the futz off Arfoire for once in their lives lol.

     

    But alas. I stared into the abyss and the abyss stared back. Nep-nep is part of my soul now. I can't not play them.


  17. Developer: Compile Heart, Idea Factory

    Publisher: Idea Factory International

    Platform: PlayStation 4

    Release Date: February 2, 2016

    ESRB: Teen



    Megadimension… that isn“t right, is it? It“s some strange error on the box, much like Resident Evil Revelaitons (sic)? Well as much as it might seem like that, it actually isn“t. The longstanding ”Hyperdimension“ moniker is dropped for the first time in the series (no, Hyperdevotion Noire, you loner, you don“t count.) I guess it kinda makes sense, though? Like those mega bundles, Megadimension Neptunia is sorta three games in one. Why sorta? Well, all the different worlds are connected plot wise, but they are also not immediately connected to each other, meaning you can“t travel between them as you see fit.

    On one hand, I feel like Megadimension Neptunia VII tries to give us the series“s most complex plot yet. Which hey, I can totally appreciate. The first “gameé takes us to the Zerodimension. A world on the brink of collapse, populated by a sole CPU. So naturally most of the game“s chief characters aren“t available. Thankfully this amounts to basically a prologue of sorts, but the problem of having access to the characters we“ve come to know and love. However, once the Zerodimension prologue is over, the problem is hardly fixed, cause immediately after you“re thrust into one of four “mini episodesé that limits you to certain small groups of characters. So yeah, we have a more complex plot that revolves around something other than an allegory about how piracy ruins video games, but at the cost of 40+ hours of the game limiting you to three characters at most at a time.

    In a game that revolves around personified video game consoles, was anyone looking for that kind of depth, especially at the cost of running around Gamindustri having to repeat the same levels among different groups of characters? Indeed they were not, says I. Other than that, the new characters from Gold Third, B-sha (Bandai Namco), C-sha (Capcom), S-sha (Square/Square Enix), and K-sha (Konami), are all cool additions with hilarious side stories based on the history of the companies they represent.

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    So, like the plot, the combat system sees some added complexity as well. Mechanics that have evolved slowly in the Re:Birth games are all but turned on their head here. The previous title, Re;birth 3: V Generation ditched SP, adding it to the EXE gauge. Well the two are separate once again, but that isn“t the only change. This time around the EXE gauge actually resets between battles, meaning that you can“t spam attacks until it“s full and save that bad boy and say “Make my day.é All Clint Eastwood style when a wannabe tough guy rolls around.

    The basic nature of attack chains have also changed, somewhat for the better, somewhat for worse. Megadimension still features three different attack types, but because enemies no longer have a guard gauge, “Break,é as it existed previously, is replaced with an attack type that“s simply a mix of the other two. How you set combo attacks has changed as well. Before, each attack in the combo had a point value, but this time around weapons determine how many combo attacks can be set for characters. It“s a confusing change as the original combo system remained largely the same for many of the previous titles, and quite frankly I felt like I“d just woken up in an alternate dimension after seeing it. As time went on I started to like it more though, as choosing a weapon based not only on its damage value and attack area, but how it affects the combo system, injects more strategy into the game at the cost of the set-it-and-forget-it ease of combos in games past.

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    Furthering the changes to combat system, Combo Traits make the order of attacks in the combo matter as each attack has criteria for additional damage based on your previous attacks. This makes certain attacks more useful in conjunction with others so you are encouraged to experiment and change them often, which certainly beats the old strategy of “find the one that hurts the bad dude the most and use it three/four times in a row.é

    But the changes hardly stop there. A key feature added to the game revolves around the ability to break parts off bad dudes like Beatrix Kiddo at the House of Blue Leaves. Early on it isn“t explained much but most tougher enemies and bosses have destructible bits that can break off if you attack them from a certain angle. You“ll want to experiment with this anyway since in this game characters“ positions actually affect how much damage you deal, but hitting them just right can actually net you cool stuff, and in some cases is even required if you don“t want to spend all day on a boss that might as well be a 'Sham Wow.' I“m pretty sure this was meant to replace enemies“ guard gauges but it ends up being more practical and rewarding than the old system ever was.

    The Formation system has also seen big changes. Just like positioning can enhance damage and break parks, you“ll also have to specifically position your team to unleash an F-Skill. Basically all these changes make for the most strategic combat in a Neptunia game yet, which I personally appreciate, for for plot reasons mentioned above, you won“t get to experience much of it until much later in game. Oh, and there“s this new thing called NEXT forms for the main CPUs, which are about as much of an afterthought mechanically as this mention of them is.

    On the subject of what hasn“t changed. Well. There“s no easy way to say this. Get ready to see the same areas that have inexplicably been around forever. Again. And again. And again. You get the idea. The Re;Birth games have received a lot of flak (from myself included) for reusing so many assets but those were developed back-to-back with little time for implementing feedback, and even if they hadn“t been, their status as remakes don“t lend themselves much to the possibility for drastic changes anyway. With Megadimension Neptunia VII that excuse simply does not exist.

    While there are plenty of new enemy models, the same old repeat offenders rear their tired faces yet again in this title. The running gags surrounding Arfoire“s frequent opposition are as tired at this point as actually fighting Arfoire several times a game for the last 145,179 games. Ok, maybe it only feels like there“s been that many, but seriously. Can we give Arfoire a break? For the love of all that is holy? Even a self aware joke about how tedious your mid-boss fights are don“t excuse them after this many games. Hashtag sadface.

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    Look, I“ve been asking for change in these games since I started reviewing them, but this is like one of those freaky Twilight Zone, Stephen King, M. Night Shyamalan type things where I have all the time in the world but my glasses break while I come home and my family is eating the pie meant to curse an old gypsy and it turns out I was dead the whole time. Basically, "be careful what you wish for" should be a huge sticker on the front of this box because reviewers and fans alike have been asking for changes and we got them… but not for what we“d hoped. Done-to-death elements like much of the music, dungeons, and recurring boss battles are still beating that same dead horsebird. I“m surprised there“s anything left of that poor horse-birdy to be honest. And breaking up the game into a series of “episodesé with limited character selection for much of the game is a pretty baffling decision if you ask me.

    The changes that have been made though, actually make this title the most strategic and challenging that the series has seen in a long time. And let“s face it, if your game is known for 1) self referential, third-wall-breaking, and gaming industry humor, and 2) gameplay, there is absolutely nothing wrong with strengthening the weaker of the two. Just be careful what you lose along the way, and more importantly the changes maybe you should be focusing on a little more.

     

    Pros:


    + Trademark Neptunia series humor is back!

    + Huge overhauls to equipment and combat greatly reward players for strategy and planning


    Cons:


    - Still many repetitive boss fights and reused dungeons

    - Disjointed narrative removes many of the characters from use for too much of the game

    - Bath scenes. Plural. Why? That“s all I“m saying.


     

    Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10)

    Decent


    Megadimension Neptunia VII may have the least confusing title in the series, but changes to combat and lack of changes in other areas may still confuse players.


    Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher



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