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Found 546 results

  1. Developer: Koei Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games Platform: PlayStation 4, PC Release Date: October 25, 2016 ESRB: T The past couple of years have seen something of a rebirth of Koei Tecmo“s historical strategy titles. Though their major franchises in the genre -- Nobunaga“s Ambition and Romance of the Three Kingdoms -- have never been put aside, both franchises were absent from the west during the PS3 console era. But both series have returned in a big way, starting with Nobunaga“s Ambition: Sphere of Influence last year and the release of Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII just a few months ago. And now, Nobunaga“s Ambition is back once again with a stand-alone expansion to Sphere of Influence entitled 'Ascension.' Ascension, like past Nobunaga“s Ambition titles, is set during the Warring States era of Japan“s history. The ultimate goal of the game is to unite all of Japan under the flag of one daimyo through a combination of diplomacy and tactical warfare. What sets Ascension apart from the original Sphere of Influence, however, is its greater focus on individual officers. Similar in nature to Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII, the player takes the role of an individual officer and plays their part in steering their faction toward victory. Where the officer-focused gameplay of Romace of the Three Kingdoms XIII is intensely complex, Ascension is relatively simpler by comparison, but by no means is it an easy game. Also, unlike Sphere of Influence and ROT3K13, there is no dedicated tutorial. Helpful prompts appear whenever the player is introduced to a new concept or gameplay element for the first time, but it will be much easier for players to come to grips with Ascension“s mechanics if they“ve previously invested time into Sphere of Influence. As a stand-alone expansion, Ascension maintains a tight focus on its core gameplay. After selecting an officer, each of whom is tied to a specific scenario, and starting a campaign, the player is thrust into their role and free to act. Lower-ranking officers are granted a domain of land to develop as they see fit and are presented a list of objectives to pursue that are meant as progress toward a larger goal. For example, before the faction“s daimyo will order an attack on a specific castle, the faction must first deliver a certain amount of iron, lumber, money, and supplies, raise a force of a certain size, improve stretches of road, and engage in smaller battles with enemy tribes. Once all of these objectives are met by the player and/or allied AI officers, the larger objective will be presented. If that objective is met, a new larger goal will be declared, and the player will be tasked with a new list of smaller objectives. Every time objectives are met, the player earns honor, and as honor increases, so to do the opportunities for promotion. At higher ranks, the player gains more autonomy and is free to take on objectives with more freedom, or convince the daimyo to pursue new objectives. The player“s officer can also become a daimyo, granting command over their entire force. Or not, as it“s possible to turn down promotions and remain at a lower rank if so desired. Whatever path is chosen, progress is made through a combination of civic development, warfare, and diplomatic endeavors. Properly developing an officer“s domain through the construction of facilities and building strong diplomatic ties will aid the player in building a force capable of taking on enemy factions, but tactical slip-ups can (and mostly likely will) result in setbacks. Alternatively, the player can choose to betray their faction by agreeing to join a rival or by breaking away from their patron clan to become an independent force, though these actions naturally carry their own risks. Primarily driven through menus, Ascension has a clean, clear interface. It does a fairly good job at imparting the information necessary, though it at times can become dense, and the importance of some statistics isn“t immediately obvious. Curiously, the game“s UI is by default set to a very small size that“s almost unreadable on a 1080p television display; the first thing I had to do upon starting the game was find the option to enlarge the text in the main settings menu. The same issue was present in Sphere of Influence, but I have yet to understand why the default is set as it is. Aside from the primary campaign gameplay, there are two major customization features at the player“s disposal. One is a standard officer edit feature that allows the player to edit the stats of historical officers, or to create new officers from scratch. Without any forced limits, the player can create officers that are as overpowered or underpowered as desired. The other feature is an option to create custom events that will trigger if specified criteria defined by the player are met during a campaign. For example, a specific officer can be granted a specific weapon upon another specific officer“s death. While an interesting feature to tinker with in theory, the user interface is difficult to come to grips with and may scare off a lot of players after only a few minutes of struggling to understand it. Ideally, custom event creation should only be approached by veterans looking to spend a lot of time in the editor to get the most out of it, but there are no apparent rewards for these efforts beyond personal satisfaction. At its core, Ascension is a worthwhile expansion to Sphere of Influence. Though the lack of a tutorial may be off-putting, it“s more immediately approachable than Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII and still offers many hours of freeform tactical gameplay. While I would recommend players begin with the original Sphere of Influence, Ascension is still a worthwhile entry in the Nobunaga“s Ambition series. Pros + Refined, officer-focused strategy gameplay. + Numerous options are available for customizing the difficulty and elements in a new campaign. + Beautiful artwork and music, most of which is taken from Sphere of Influence. + Earning PlayStation/Steam trophies also unlocks bonus officers. Cons - No dedicated tutorial. - The custom event creation interface is obtuse and difficult to use. - Some PC mouse controls map awkwardly to a PS4 controller. Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great Ascension is a worthwhile entry in the Nobunaga“s Ambition series. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  2. Developer: Falcom Publisher: NIS America Platform: PS4 and PS Vita Release Date: September 12, 2017 ESRB: T for Teen Note: This review is based on the PS Vita version of the game For as many adventures as the crimson-haired Adol Christian has been on it is becoming less obvious as to what exactly constitutes as an Ys game nowadays. Classic prior entries such as Ys: Oath of Felgnana or Ys Seven are drastically different in their design philosophies, for example. The only safe assumption one can make about the Ys series nowadays is a fun action-RPG combat system and awesome music. In this simple regard, Falcom's newest entry in the flagship series -- Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana -- very much succeeds on that front, despite continuing to isolate itself from many of Adol's former adventures. In pure setup, Lacrimosa of Dana is absolutely faithful to Ys tradition. Adol starts his adventure on a boat... only for it to capsize and leave him stranded on the supposedly cursed location of Seiren Island. Where it quickly deviates, however, is that Adol is not alone during his adventurer this time around. I'm not just referring to eventual playable companions either, like Ys Seven or Ys Memories of Celceta have done years ago, but rescuing fellow shipwreck survivors quickly becomes the focal point of Adol's new debut. After a fairly slow introduction, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana gets into a groove of exploring the mysterious island and creating a safe haven for other survivors to gather the means to eventually escape the island. The more you explore, the more survivors you will likely uncover and eventually -- as a byproduct of doing both -- unlock more gameplay features in the central hub. For example, uncovering a blacksmith to help strengthen your weapons or a tailor to give your new accessories and outfits. At certain points players even have to defend the town from waves of monsters. It is an intriguing ebb and flow when it is done right that is not quite like any Ys title before it. Of course, many recent Ys stables are present and accounted for. The combat system is fast-paced and fun while retaining the three type of attack affinities of Slash, Strike, and Pierce to encourage swapping between allies on the fly in order to exploit enemy weaknesses (as introduced in Ys Seven). What is disappointing, however, is that combat feels considerably more easy, and generally less skillful, than most traditional Ys titles even on higher difficulties. While some bosses have neat tricks up their sleeve the less health they have you can pretty easily brute force most fights through the game's rather generous approach to healing items. It almost feels like overkill to have access to tools like a Bayonetta-styled dodge or a ''Flash Guard' that completely medicates damage, though I am sure it can be argued for the previous two games as well. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana clearly puts a bigger emphasis on exploration, town-building, and storytelling while combat is a means to an end while doing so. Very much like Ys VIII: Memories of Celceta there's a slight Metroid-ish approach to exploration as you gain new traversal skills, like double-jumping or the ability climbs vines, or by removing obstacles in environment based on the more survivors you find. It is neat, though; after a certain amount of time exploration feels more like an act of compulsion than genuine wonderment, like one would experience in likes of something like Xenoblade Chronicles, because of how little variability there actually is to the terrain. This is further devalued by stopgap moments like excessive storytelling scenes as well. Strangely enough, there is abnormally large emphasis on storytelling and it is not, well... particularly good. I am not sure why Falcom continues to put in long-winded stories into Ys games that also manage to be so totally underwhelming and forgettable as well. It is made worse by much of the awkward script where phrases like 'Evolution' and 'Energy' are treated like high level concepts among the cast. No, I get it: Dinosaurs. No, I get it: the ancient civilization had special powers. We don't need to be talking about this for half an hour. Less would certainly be more in the case of the storytelling for Lacrimosa of Dana, although ironically the PS4 version apparently adds even more cutscenes to it... As one may guess, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is not really a cohesive game. I'm not necessarily talking about the presentation either, which runs well enough on the portable despite noticeable slowdown. I simply mean there are a lot of concepts, ideas, and gameplay systems but none of them really excel enough to detract from what should be the series that is at its best when it has focused and fast-paced action-RPG gameplay. There is simply random feature creep for just the sake of it. Sure, you can do fetch-quests, catch fish, or keep hoping the main story will get better over time but... why? Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana explores a new direction for Falcom's beloved series. With its satisfying combat, and rewarding sense of exploration, it could have easily succeeded just on that front. And yet, it is bogged down at its attempt to add more with consistently dull storytelling that remains way too long-winded throughout as well other not fully-fleshed gameplay systems, like a certain town-defense mini game, that surface many unnecessary stopgaps to the game's sense of a exploratory flow. It is certainly fun to play but one can not help but feel it would have been better off if its goals of exploring Seiren Island were simply more focused. Pros + Fun, zippy combat system + Town-building and exploration aspects are neat + Amazing soundtrack Cons - Storytelling and cast are quite dull - Not a whole lot of variation in the actual environments - General difficulty feels more tuned for attrition than actual skill - Stopgap pacing that does not allow many of the gamelay systems to really shine on their own Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana plays with the series formula in a lot of ways and while it is not entirely successful in its execution, nor pacing, it still manages to be a fun action-RPG Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS Vita code provided by the publisher.
  3. Hailinel

    Review: Warriors All-Stars

    Developer: Omega Force Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games Platform: PlayStation 4, PC Release Date: August 29, 2017 ESRB: T 2017 marks the twentieth anniversary of the development studio Omega Force, as well as the studio’s first and longest-running franchise: the 'Warriors' series. A lot has happened in the two decades since the studio’s founding; larger historical highlights include its parent company Koei completed a merger with Tecmo, and the combined Koei Tecmo later took in the RPG studio 'Gust.' To mark Omega Force’s twenty years, the studio has produced Warriors All-Stars; a Warriors title that highlights not just the developer's history, but that of Koei Tecmo as a whole. People familiar with the Warriors franchise may recall the Warriors Orochi series. This trilogy began as a crossover between the Three Kingdoms-themed Dynasty Warriors and feudal Japan-themed Samurai Warriors series, but Warriors Orochi 3, through subsequent iterative releases, expanded the crossover idea by including more and more characters from outside of the Warriors franchise. By the time Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate released on the PS4, the game included characters from Koei, Tecmo, and Gust’s combined library. Warriors All-Stars takes this idea and runs with it, focusing less on the Warriors franchise specifically and more on Koei Tecmo’s full history. The crossover is structured around a narrative involving a kingdom and world in peril. Requiring the power of heroes from other worlds to restore the power of the world’s spring before it runs completely dry, a summoning ceremony is conducted, but fails, causing those pulled across the dimensional barrier to be scattered far and wide. The heroes become divided into three factions, each allied with a different member of royalty; Tamaki, her older brother Shiki, and their cousin Setsuna, each of whom vies to bring life back to the world in the manner they deem best, even if that means fighting one another. As a narrative in a crossover, the basic storyline is simple, but paths branch based on characters the player has recruited and which battles they choose to engage. There’s a large host of endings to uncover across the three factions, which range from relatively cut-and-dried “the world is saved” to characters going rogue and turning those efforts at saving the world sideways. In that sense, the replayability of the story mode is very high. On the surface, the game’s set of features appears sparse. For example, unlike most Warriors titles, there’s no Free Mode that lets you take any character into any battle. Instead, the game’s Story Mode features an open-ended structure with its world map. Markers scattered across the map feature a variety of battle types that include the core story and character-recruitment battles, special “dramatic battles” that play upon similarities between cast members, as well as side battles that emphasize offense, defense, treasure hunting, survival, and more. The variety is good, though those that primarily play Warriors games in multiplayer will be disappointed to find no such option available here. The combat system in Warriors All-Stars plays very similarly to most entries in the franchise, with every character having light attacks, heavy, or charge attacks, and a unique special attack. Where it differentiates is in its team-based approach. In addition to a leading player-character, up to four additional characters can be assigned as teammates, each with their own assisting special abilities that can be triggered at any time, barring cooldown. Teammates can also be called in to temporarily fight side-by-side with the leader, effectively giving the player control of more than one character simultaneously. And then, in perhaps the game’s most overt nod to its own celebratory nature, there is the Musou Rush. When triggered, Musou Rush puts the player in an invincible state and fills the screen with enemies, challenging the player to take out as many as possible under a timer. As the player performs well, the other party members will appear on the edges of the screen to cheer on the player-character while confetti flies about. Limited in use (the player begins every battle with one Rush Star and only earns more with every 1000 non-Rush K.O.s), they can help turn the tide when facing powerful officers. One of the game’s best mechanics is Bravery. A replacement for the morale systems seen in other Warriors titles, Bravery is a power-scaling mechanic. Every officer in each battle has a Bravery rating, and the player always starts off with a Bravery of 1. The greater in difference between two officers, the harder it is for the officer with the lower Bravery to do damage to the opponent. Completing side-missions and other tasks will raise Bravery over time, so there’s value in attempting to complete every mission given instead of attempting to rush the stage boss ASAP. Of course, as a crossover, one of the most intriguing aspects of Warriors All-Stars is its roster. While the game does feature a few of the more popular characters from the Dynasty and Samurai Warriors series, as well as returnees from the Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive games that previously appeared in Warriors Orochi 3, the vast majority of the roster is new to the Warriors format, and some come from games that never received an English localization or western release. Some of the new franchises represented include the action-RPG Nights of Azure, the trap-focused action/puzzle Deception series, and the otome romance adventure series Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time. Oh! And this dashing guy: Many games that don’t feature playable characters are referenced through material items that the player can collect during battle. Callbacks range from the relatively recent (Bladestorm), to the old school (Mighty Bomb Jack and Rygar). Though it is inevitable that what some may see as obvious candidates for any sort of inclusion, playable or otherwise, have been left out. The game isn’t quite Super Smash Warriors, but it gets close. The variety of franchise representation carries over into other aspects of the game’s presentation. Many of the game’s stages are themed after the franchises the roster members come from, whether that be Toukiden, Nioh, or the pachislot Rio series. Additionally, the soundtrack features songs from across the board, most if not all of which have been remixed with new instrumentation. And on the voice side of the audio, the game uses the original Japanese voice talent for all of the included characters with one notable exception. William, the Irish protagonist of Nioh, retains his English-language voice actor, and all of his voiced dialogue is in English. Warriors All-Stars is, above all, a very solid entry in the Warriors franchise. As something of a successor to the Warriors Orochi series, the playable roster isn’t nearly as large, but the diversity of its cast and willingness to poke fun at itself makes it feel like more of the proper celebratory title it was meant to be. If you enjoy Warriors games and you have a fondness for Koei Tecmo titles in general, Warriors All-Stars is the game for you. Pros + Includes a fun, diverse roster representing the combined history of Koei Tecmo + Smart gameplay tweaks to the Warriors formula + Branching story paths and numerous endings add a lot of incentive to replay + Numerous fun callbacks and references to characters, events, and oddities within the represented games Cons - Some well-regarded Koei Tecmo franchises are conspicuously missing - No way to replay story and dramatic battles outside of new game cycles - Optional character requests wildly fluctuate in difficulty, time commitment, and RNG chance requirements Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic If you enjoy Warriors games and have a fondness for Koei Tecmo titles in general, Warriors All-Stars is the game for you.
  4. Co-Op and fun with Haxton! Come check out some #Destiny2 fun on my #Twitch stream tonight! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  5. In an unexpected move today, Rockstar announced that on November 14 they are bringing back LA Noire as an enhanced version for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and even Nintendo's Switch and a VR experience that pulls from the game. The Switch version of LA Noire represents the first Rockstar game on the console, and it'll consist of the full original game, all of its DLC, Switch-specific gyroscopic/motion controls, and HD Rumble. New touch controls have also been added for handheld mode. As for Xbox One and PS4, they'll also be getting the full game and all of its DLC, plus "a range of technical enhancements for greater visual fidelity and authenticity, including enhanced lighting and clouds, new cinematic camera angles, high resolution textures and more." The game will run at 1080p natively on Xbox One and PS4, while also offering 4K for Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. Finally, the VR experience is called LA Noire: The VR Case Files and will release for the HTC Vive headset. It focuses on seven of the cases from the game, which have been rebuilt for the VR experience. Could this possibly be a prelude to Rockstar creating a future LA Noire sequel? While LA Noire's original developer, Team Bondi, shut down back in late 2011, it certainly looks like a possibility, though releasing the game on Switch is also a great way for the company to gauge how well M-rated content as a whole will sell on the console. Source: IGN Does LA Noire's announcement for current consoles surprise you? Will you be buying it?
  6. Sorry for the delay, we're live now! Check out the awesome shield lobbing #Destiny2 action on my #Twitch stream! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  7. Image & Form has announced that its upcoming SteamWorld Dig 2 will not only release on Switch later this month, but also on the PS4 and PS Vita as well. While the game will release on Switch first, the latter versions will launch nearly a week later. As for what you can expect from this sequel, Image & Form laid out five new things on the PlayStation Blog. Namely, a new protagonist in the form of Dorothy McCrank, a supporting NPC from the original game; new companions, of which Image & Form mentioned you won't be digging on your own this time; new upgrades, such as the jet engine and hookshot; a big sprawling world to explore (Image & Form says it's much bigger than the first game; expect to spend 10+ hours exploring it); and a new musical composer in the form of El Huervo (of Hotline Miami Fame). You'll be able to experience it for yourself when SteamWorld Dig 2 releases on Switch on September 21, and then on PlayStation 4 and PS Vita on September 26 (in North America) and September 27 (in Europe). All versions will run $19.99. Source: Press Release, PlayStation Blog Are you excited to play SteamWorld Dig 2?
  8. Come check out the new #Destiny2 in all its glory. Which class should I play?! Regardless, come watch on #Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  9. Jordan Haygood

    Review: Mages of Mystralia

    Developer: Borealys Games Publisher: Borealys Games Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One Release Date(s): May 18th, 2017 (PC); August 22nd, 2017 (PS4) ESRB: E10+ for Everyone 10+ Official Website Note: This review is based on the PC version of the game I always appreciate when game developers try something new and different, opting to get creative with their craft rather than making their games carbon copies of other games. Perhaps the game has a really unique aesthetic that makes the game look like no other game out there. Or perhaps the game has a gameplay mechanic that hasn't been seen before. Developer Borealys Games is one developer whose action-adventure title Mages of Mystralia applies to the latter example. With a fresh new mechanic that allows for a unique and customizable magic-wielding adventure, Mages of Mystralia definitely has its charm, and a pleasantly colorful art style and beautiful soundtrack certainly help to emphasize that. But is that enough to make this game good? Or does Mages of Mystralia's flaws hurt it too much to make the game worth your time? What is Mages of Mystralia? Well, it's a game about mages, of course. To be more specific, the story involves a land (called Mystralia, funny enough) where mages, who once prospered, are now banned from society thanks to a mage-king from long ago who became mad with power and ...just plain ruined it for everyone. Gee, thanks a lot, dude. You play as Zia, a young woman who has recently awakened her arcane abilities. Unfortunately, in the process, her new yet uncontrolled abilities cause her house to burn down, her uncle perishing along with it. So yeah, she basically murdered her uncle by accident. Even though this game is fairly lighthearted, it definitely has its dark moments. After she flees from her village, she finds a fellow mage who introduces himself simply as Zia's mentor, since he decides to teach her the ways of the mage so she doesn't accidentally wreak havoc on Mystralia. After a transition involving Zia receiving a wand and a robe, the game finally kicks off. The story of Mages of Mystralia isn't really what I would consider a highlight, though. That's not to say it's terrible, in fact, I'd say it's fairly interesting, just that it's not really something you should look forward to since there's not a whole lot to it. But there are a couple of nice twists, even though they might be a bit predictable to some, and I enjoyed the development of Zia as a mage over the course of the game, so the story is still enjoyable. The real highlight of Mages of Mystralia is its gameplay. I've played games with customizable spells before, but none were quite like what this game has to offer. You basically have four main spell types - Immedi, Actus, Creo, and Ego. Seems simple enough, right? But then you have your runes, and that's where things get fun. You start with very few but gather much more as you do things like progress the story or solve various puzzles. And the more you have, the more you can put together with your four spells to create a plethora of different spells, from simple to chaotic. Want a spell that creates a clone of you that shoots fire out like a turret? Go ahead and make it. Want to shoot five fireballs that bounce off walls and shoot more fireballs upon impact with an enemy? You do you. Oh, and did I mention that you can change the element of any spell later on? Because you totally can. Which makes spell-crafting even deeper more fun. One thing that makes spell-crafting pleasantly challenging is this game's puzzles. There will be times when you have to create specific spells that will allow you to meet a given challenge, such as lighting several torches before a timer resets them. The best part about those particular puzzles is that they sometimes have multiple methods, some of which make the challenge a lot easier if you can conjure up the right spell. However, there's another type of puzzle that doesn't use your spells. With these, you basically move circles around a board until the arrows on them point to each other and the circles each light up. If I confused you just now, oh well. Just know that these are fun, too, if you like puzzles that make you feel smart afterward. Which I certainly do. Like with any game, it's hard not to find at least one gameplay flaw. Mages of Mystralia is no different. For one thing, I found that the controls could get in the way at times. For example, I fell off cliffs and into the water far too often because the controls didn't always get along with the camera angles in certain spots. Thankfully, you only lose a bit of health, but it still gets annoying. Maybe I just suck, but it seemed to me like an oversight that forces you to be extra careful to avoid pitfalls such as those. I also found it quite irritating when I got hit by an enemy, fell down, got back up and got hit again before I could even do anything. Seems like the whole invincibility frames thing could have been utilized a bit better. I noticed a few pretty bad glitches, too. Fortunately, they mostly helped me, like a couple of times when enemies fell through the floor and died or that time when my attack never dissipated and enemies kept getting hit by it. It should still get patched, of course. The game also has some sidequests, and while they are indeed a welcome addition, the lack of some sort of quest log makes it confusing to keep up with them. I also wish that the map was bigger (as in not just one overworld map of Mystralia but also maps of each individual area) and allowed you to mark it, or at least marked itself so you didn't have to constantly backtrack to find a single puzzle, item, or quest you couldn't get/pass before. These features are nice to have to keep you engaged, but could have been streamlined better. As far as looks go, Mages of Mystralia has a very charming art style. Rather than boasting high-end graphics, or even attempting something remotely close, Borealys Games chose a simpler, colorful aesthetic that is certainly pleasant to look at, which will actually help it age better in the long run. And it makes sense, considering this is an indie game, so it was a smart move to keep it simple instead of trying to be overly ambitious and making the game super ugly like some indie devs (and even some triple-A devs). Even with the simplistic graphical style, though, I did notice some lagging here and there. I'm not completely sure if it's the game's problem or mine, but my computer has run more graphics-heavy games without lag before, so I'm thinking Mages of Mystralia might have a framerate issue. I'll let you determine that yourself if you decide to purchase the game. It wasn't a game-breaker, but it was noticeable. Mages of Mystralia has a very pretty soundtrack as well. It's soothing to listen to while playing through the game, which is generally a plus with video game soundtracks. Beautifully written and beautifully orchestrated, composer Antoine Vachon did a splendid job composing a soundtrack that fits perfectly into the world of Mystralia. I can't think of much to say about the sound design, though, since there's really nothing noticeably bad about it. When characters talk, they make a vocal noise when a word bubble pops up, and it works fine. As do the spell-casting sounds, enemy sounds, various background sounds, and the voice acting heard in the beginning and ending cutscenes is pretty good. Maybe some players will notice something jarring, but everything worked just fine for me. All in all, Mages of Mystralia has a lot going for it, and I enjoyed my playthrough. Unfortunately, the game suffers a bit from somewhat flawed controls, a few glitches here and there, and lacks some features that make certain other features feel incomplete. But with its lighthearted yet occasionally dark story with some pretty good main character development, a delightfully creative and fun spell-crafting mechanic, a charming and pleasantly vibrant art style, and a beautiful soundtrack that fits the world perfectly, Mages of Mystralia is a good game that I recommend picking up. Pros + Lighthearted yet occasionally dark story with some pretty good main character development + Delightfully creative and fun spell-crafting mechanic + Charming, pleasantly vibrant art style + Beautiful soundtrack that fits the world perfectly Cons - Suffers a bit from somewhat flawed controls - Apparent glitches here and there - Lacks some features that make certain other features feel incomplete Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great A game that can easily be described as "The Legend of Zelda meets Harry Potter," Mages of Mystralia is a fun action-adventure game well worth your time thanks to its brilliant spell-crafting system alone, but also has vibrant visuals, a beautiful soundtrack, and enough other good qualities to push whatever shortcomings it may have off to the sidelines. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  10. New powers, new locations, and new ways to destroy any guard we find. Check it out on Twitch for Dishonored 2 https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  11. Are we gonna go crazy on people!? Or maybe go all sneaky beaky like? Either way, tune in for Dishonored 2 on Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  12. Developer: Kadokawa Games Publisher: NIS America Platform: PS Vita/PS4 Release Date: June 20, 2017 ESRB: T for Teen Note: This review is based on the PS Vita version of the game It's difficult to approach strategy role-playing games from Kadokawa Games without some degree of trepidation. One only needs to point to the incredibly unforgiving SRPG (strategy role-playing game) mess that was 2014's Natural Doctrine to reinforce that stance. But, in all fairness, it has been several years since that title and hopefully they learned a lot in between that and their newest foray in the subgenre, God Wars: Future Past. The main premise is one of that is heavily wrapped up in Japanese mythology; those of Shinto beliefs, in particular. A priestess named Kaguya escapes her confinement with the help of her childhood friend and goes on a big journey in search of her mother. From then on, Kaguya gets caught up in far more than she originally anticipated in a world so deeply rooted in the workings of various gods, those benevolent and those very much not. It's a pleasant shift in setting than the all too common medieval styled fantasy in subgenre (which I like, don't get me wrong) and is thankfully easier to parse than the overwhelmingly Japanese PS Vita title Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines. In a sharp sort of contrast to its storytelling, God Wars: Future Past does not have any unnecessary frills to the actual gameplay. It also boasts a pretty involved job system that is genuinely similar to Final Fantasy Tactics (and not in the blanket term way it is often used simply because it's grid-based), which I feel I haven't seen in earnest since the likes of Wild Arms: XF. There are tons of different jobs, skills, and passive skills to equipped (and if you are extra granular stat growths based on jobs to take into account as well) so there is plenty of incentive to mix and match abilities to be all that more effective in combat. It is easier to do so than most in the genre too since you can actually level two different jobs at once on a character because of how progression works, which is rather neat. As solid as the core mechanics are, God Wars: Future Past is noticeably rough in how it is presented. Vita version owners in particular will notice this quicker than most because of how abnormally long load times are for most aspects. For instance, it takes nearly a minute to simply hit the title screen of the game, and getting to the menu to change out equipment and skills takes over ten seconds. I need not say much more than how that really adds up over time considering just how much time one may find themselves buried in menus simply allocating new skills towards allies after each fight. What makes technical grievances more annoying is that they apply to combat as well. To be frank, the in-game 3D visuals are rather ugly. But the bigger annoyance is that the frame rate is rather iffy on top of weird pauses before a combat skills trigger too. The PS4 version is noticeably better based on what I have seen, but it got to a point where I turned off combat animations altogether just so there would be some semblance of smoothness while playing (plus, most attack animations are the same). It really feels like they only went for passable and avoided the means of an actual good port on the Vita hardware at the end of the day. And that's a real shame since it would otherwise be such a great fit for the game with the pick up and play nature. Underneath it all is the heart of a good strategy-RPG title, and one that grew on me over time despite making bad impressions early on. As stated before, it is a mechanically sound tactical game that only really gets better later on as more classes and skills open up. It does not really attempt to move the needle for the SRPG subgenre, as it borrows Tactics Ogre's approach to top-down grid-based gameplay and even MP management where ones start at none and gain more MP per turn. The more distinct mechanics are two gauges to keep track of such as Impurity and Secret Skill Gauge. Impurity is basically what is aggro in MMOs and it is quite practical to have a sturdy character built upon gaining impurity so your more fragile fighters are free from enemy ire. While the Secret Skill Gauge is accumulated over time and both unique character skills, and generally strong advanced classes, get access to that can change the tide of battle if used effectively. Still, there is more than meets the eye. Or rather, there is more to see outside of combat. The 2D character portraits are often pleasant to look at, and occasionally the story does cool comic panel-like transitions to progress the narrative. The less said about the English dub, the better, though the soundtrack does help convey the fun take on Shinto mythology with decidedly old-fashioned use of Japanese instrumentation too (though, it does have frequent audio repetition problems for how many battles use the same themes). God Wars: Future Past faces the dilemma of being a decent game but a bad port on the PS Vita hardware. Obtrusive load times and a rough 3D in-game presentation mar what would totally be a solid, if hardly amazing, tactical-RPG. For those hankering for strategy-RPGs more akin to Tactics Ogre than the popular likes of Fire Emblem, God Wars: Future Past does certainly scratch that rather specific subgenre itch. There is a rich job system, and neat take on Japanese folklore, that helps its case too. But really, unless you are like myself who is willing to suffer many technical inconveniences purely for portability, God Wars: Future Past is only worth one's time on PS4 in which it runs noticeably better on, and even that may be debatable. Pros + Very rich job system that allows quite a bit of freedom in how you mold your party and their abilities + Pleasant character portraits and setting Cons - Jarring load times on vitas - Hideous 3D visuals - Can feel like a mess of menus at times Overall Score: 5.5 (out of 10) Average God Wars: Future Past is sincere in its intentions of delivering a solid, if not rough around the edges, take on the strategy-RPG subgenre. And for the most part it does, but the rather poor port on PS Vita really makes it hard to recommend on that system in particular Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS Vita code provided by the publisher.
  13. Street Fighter V Casuals with ClevieSoul, Diamond Ranked Rashid! Let's play Ed and get bopped for a bit on Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  14. Street Fighter V Casuals with ClevieSoul, Diamond Ranked Rashid! Let's play Ed and get bopped for a bit on Twitch https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  15. Time for Street Fighter V casuals with ClevieSoul, a Diamond Ranked Rashid! Let's get bodied on Twitch stream https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  16. barrel

    Review: Valkyria Revolution

    Developer: Media Vision Publisher: Sega Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita Release Date: June 27, 2017 ESRB: T for Teen Note: This review is based on the PS4 version of the game Few games from the last console generation command such fervent respect from me than that of the original Valkyria Chronicles on PS3 back in 2008. It was so beautifully executed for such a fresh take on the strategy-RPG subgenre and featurded highly-rewarding yet challenging third-person tactical gameplay, a triumphant Hitoshi Sakamoto soundtrack -- all this and more while bannered in an absolutely gorgeous visual style that gave Valkyria Chronicles a real storybook-like flair that caused it to be lauded for years to come. And... no one bought it at the time. It was after this that the series gradually descended in ranks to approach a different audience. To cater to specific Japanese gaming tastes they made two handheld sequels to the original Valkyria Chronicles. Both were good games in their own right, despite the mixed reception that II“s high school setting brought in particular, but clearly made compromises in scope for the weaker PSP hardware. To rekindle the fires of war in what is easily the most divisive Valkyria release to date comes the entirely new action-RPG spin-off: Valkyria Revolution. With a negative Japanese reception, and it forgoing most of the series' signature SRPG elements, it begins to bring into question what merits that Valkyria Revolution has to rally existing veterans of the series. What is likely to feel like a first traitorous act to the beloved franchise is simply in how Valkyria Revolution looks. Characters move stiffly and have doll-like facial expressions, environments are lifeless as well as frequently recycled, and at times the title has the gall to not be animated at all during certain story scenes using only still frames and voice acting to propel it. There are moments where it does try to utilize visual filtering tricks to evoke the storybook-esque effect of the prior titles, but hardly comes close to parity with the original. Really, just about everything about its look feels a step back from its nearly decade old influential forefather, which only adds insult to injury. It may be clear the game was largely hamstrung by the PS Vita hardware but it is still a real shame that Valkyria Revolution has failed to really imitate Valkyria Chronicles' visual charm on even the most basic level. Valkyria Revolution tries to gain its bearing by other means, however. And as a spin-off it does technically have leeway in doing so despite many creative liberties it tries to take in its departure. First and foremost Valkyria Revolution is a four-person squad-based action-RPG. There are certainly elements of the previous strategy titles like the ability to take cover, how action pauses when lining up shots, or issuing orders to allies, but their practical use is next to non-existent on the standard difficulty. Gameplay rarely feels more complicated than running up to enemies, often rather mindlessly, to hopefully exploit their weakness in the process from doing actions like a rocket launcher on a mechanical foe or a well-timed spell (or "ragnite") in a mob of foes. But I would struggle to say if even that much forethought is really necessary depending on how much time you are willing to spend during a skirmish. Most of the inherent difficulty feels dictated by how much time you are willing to spend upgrading your character's abilities and gear than actually making calls of the battlefield, in all honesty. For example, early in the game it felt like it was taking me forever to kill certain mechanized spider-like foes. I decided to then update a character's weapon via a node-based skill tree (which is essentially progressed by using leftover "ragnite" item drops) and was able to shred through that same enemy in far less time. I also found a more satisfying flow the more creative I got with using different ragnite skills by playing upon each of the squad members affinities. The four primary classes bring a sort of MMO mindset to character builds, like shielders being a tank equivalent while sappers on the other hand have a higher affinity towards long range attacks or healing abilities. Depending on if one plays upon a character's strengths well enough can make them feel nigh invincible based on if certain unique character traits of theirs are triggered mid-battle (which are gained either through story or optional character events in the certain town hub). Weirdly enough, the gameplay and the systems around Valkyria Revolution aren't particularly bad overall but rather they are hardly remarkable in the long run. This is largely due to how little variety there is to combat. Enemies are frequently recycled as well as levels. Plus there is an encouraged grind to get new ragnite, or to enhance a character's weapons, which makes it drag its feet more so. Plus, when it has such a strong source material to serve as contrast, as Valkyria Chronicles had wildly varying objectives each story mission, only makes the squandered potential that much more depressing. What is actually Valkyria Revolution's stronger annoyance is not its generally average gameplay but rather the storytelling--and not in the way you would expect. The main story itself would make a good case for the best in the series, spin-off or otherwise, were it not for how terribly it is paced. Cutscenes are abnormally long, redundant, and often last around thirty minutes after each story mission. Every bit of political intrigue, or darker narrative implications, are entirely drowned out by either pointless slice-of-life fluff of squadmates or how much they pound you over the head with things you already know by now. I get it, game, "The Traitors" instigated a war for their revenge under the guise of a liberation. You don't need to tell me the same thing for twenty hours from both the characters themselves and the historians attempting to tell me the truth of that same history as well. There is one aspect that Valkyria Revolution absolutely nails, however -- and that's Yasunori Mitsuda's phenomenal soundtrack. To empowering shifts in the soundtrack in the midst of battle, or more joyful beats when walking around the central town, really stands the musical score out in sharp contrast to the rest of the game. Other than that the trend of mediocrity carries over to other departments such as the voice acting as well. Yet, the generally well-written localization makes whatever awkward narrative scenes more palatable in spite of it and the iffy dub. As tempting as it is to forever compare what it does not do as well as its original legacy, Valkyria Revolution's biggest problem really is that it is thoroughly average for the most part. One can glean instances of potential from it here and there, from storytelling intrigue and gameplay systems, but they are dragged out for way too long to be compelling (story scenes in particular). What is left is a husk of a spin-off that is unlikely to really satisfy existing Valkyria fans, and is not built sturdy enough to stand on its own feet either in a year where one has so many better RPG alternatives. Although, one should give the soundtrack of Valkyria Revolution a listen at the very least. Pros + Storytelling is intriguing when it doesn't drag its feet (which is rare) + Battle Palletes allow for solid party customization in the wide array of skills that can be applied + Mitsuda's soundtrack is phenomenal Cons - Why are the cutscenes so dang long?! -Extremely repetitive and often bland combat/level design - Clearly made with the Vita's hardware limitations in mind and the presentation really suffers for it on the big screen - Those expecting strategic gameplay, like that of mainline Valkyria Chronicles, will be bitterly disappointed Overall Score: 5 (out of 10) Average For a spin-off meant to breathe new life into a beloved series, Valkyria Revolution only serves to lower morale amidst a year of far more capable gaming options to recruit from Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS4 code provided by the publisher.
  17. Another month, another set of DLC updates for Final Fantasy XV. This month sees four new updates, the biggest of them being the wearable Magitek Exosuits. Essentially, the Magitek Exosuits will grant players 30 minutes of invincibility per day, which can be useful for the more dangerous enemies out there. And even after the invincibility wears off, you can still wear the suit. Next up is a new quest called "O Partner, My Partner," which is accessible at Meldacio Hunter HQ after you complete Chapter 8. There's also a new "Cross Chain" system which lets players increase the number of linked attacks, causing massive damage to more heavily defended enemies. But it's only available after players acquire two Royal Arms: the Sword of the Wise, and Axe of the Conqueror. Finally, the Moogle Chocobo Carnival is returning in Altissia from July 31 to September, where players can play mini-games, participate in Chocobo water races, and buy special Moogle Chocobo items at the Square Enix cafe. Source: Press Release Will you be checking about any of the new DLC from July's update?
  18. Let's learn Necalli on pad with ClevieSoul in Street Fighter V on PS4! Come check out the Twitch stream! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  19. I guess we can play Street Fighter V with ClevieSoul or something. Come see how bad I am on my Twitch stream! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  20. Now that we've found Larsa in Final Fantasy XII I wonder what's next? Come tune in on Twitch and find out! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  21. Back onto that Final Fantasy XII grind tonight! Be sure to stop by on Twitch for the JRPG goodness! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  22. Royzoga

    7/23/2017 - SFV

    I mean, I guess we can try and learn how to play SFV on pad. Come see the terrible pad play on Twitch. Oh, and more anime music! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  23. I wonder if we'll find Larsa in Final Fantasy XII TZA tonight? Be sure to stop by the Twitch stream and find out! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  24. Final Fantasy XII -- But where's Larsa? I mean, I guess we should look for 'em! Tune in on Twitch to find him! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  25. Ready for more FinalFantasyXII action?! Tune in on Twitch for the nonsense and epic journey! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
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