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Found 552 results

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Back onto that Final Fantasy XII grind tonight! Be sure to stop by on Twitch for the JRPG goodness! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Ready for more FinalFantasyXII action?! Tune in on Twitch for the nonsense and epic journey! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  8. Jason Clement

    Anyone play Crash N-Sane Trilogy yet?

    So the Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy has been out for a week or so now -- have any of you played it yet? If so, what do you think of it? I definitely want to get it, but I have so much that I need to play at the moment that I'm holding off on buying it until later in the year probably. That way I can also get it cheaper, maybe around Black Friday even? Still, I'm interested to hear what you think of it and whether it holds up. I've heard more good than bad, but I've heard stories from both camps where certain people couldn't remember why they even liked the games in the first place, and then others where they said it was one of the best games of the year. So let's hear it! Have you bought the game yet? If so, what do you think of it? If not, do you plan to?
  9. Good evening, Podunkers and the like! I've been gone for a while now, and while I can't promise I'll be as active as I have been in the past, I can make a new promise. This new promise is for streaming games on a daily and weekly basis! Monday - Friday I'll be streaming around 4PM EST and then again at around 9PM EST. Right now, I'm streaming Overwatch during the 4PM time block and then the new Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age during the 9PM block. However, I'm open to suggestions on things to play and bringing in new users and the like all the time. Below will be some of my personal handles and ways to reach me through social media as well as see when I go live among other things. Twitter - @royzoga Twitch - https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123 Well, that's pretty much it for now! I certainly hope to see some of you guys around and the like sometime soon! Be sure to stop by when you get the chance, even if it's only for a few moments. And most importantly, have fun!
  10. Today's D23 Expo brought with it a number of pretty big announcements, making it one of the more memorable Disney expos in recent years, but perhaps the biggest announcement for many video games was the revealing of a new world in Kingdom Hearts 3. Oh, and its official release window. Joining previously revealed worlds -- Hercules, Tangled, and Big Hero 6 -- is the first Pixar-based one: Toy Story. In keeping with the theme of having Sora fit into each world in a special way, both he, Donald, and Goofy will be appearing as a toy version of themselves -- with all three having a thin, blocky aesthetic. The question is, will Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprise their roles as Woody and Buzz in this game? I could see Allen, but who knows if Square Enix could muster up enough money to get Tom Hanks. Guess we'll see. Oh, and that release window? Earlier than you may have thought. The new trailer that was shown off reveals that the game is being planned for release next year. Yup, 2018. Now that doesn't mean that it won't be delayed, but at least we know Square Enix is getting serious when they start to put a real release window out there. There's also the fact that series creator Tetsuya Nomura mentioned that Square Enix doesn't want a year to go by without a Kingdom Hearts release, and with the recent release of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue and Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX and no other titles planned beside Kingdom Hearts 3... the math appears to add up for next year. Be sure to check out the newest trailer for the game below. Kingdom Hearts 3 is set to release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next year. Source: Press Release ARE YOU EXCITED FOR... *ahem* are you excited for Toy Story in Kingdom Hearts 3? Also, how about that 2018 release date? Think it'll happen?
  11. Hailinel

    Review: Dark Rose Valkyrie

    Developer: Compile Heart Publisher: Idea Factory International Platform: PlayStation 4 Release Date: June 6, 2017 ESRB: T Basing the narrative of a story around a gimmick can be a risky proposition. In the best cases, a well-timed twist or a key plot element can lift an otherwise pedestrian story into something memorable and beloved. But in the worst cases, reliance on a gimmick can expose the plot“s lack of depth and character, leaving it as a cautionary tale. The new Compile Heart RPG Dark Rose Valkyrie strives to live off of its own memorable gimmick, but is the game strong enough to support it? Dark Rose Valkyrie is set in an alternate history version of Japan where Earth has become overrun by victims of the Chimera Virus; a mysterious disease that twists and corrupts people and animals into monsters. The lead character Asahi is an inexperienced young officer assigned to lead an experimental squadron equipped to take on the Chimera in battle, but when he and his team aren“t out in the field fighting, Asahi has to spend time with his squad members in order to build their trust in him and help them out. In terms of its basic structure, Dark Rose Valkyrie isn“t too unlike other JRPGs that have blended dungeon exploration and combat with social elements. There“s a clear divide between embarking on missions that take the player out onto the world map and in dungeons to fight Chimera, and more quiet one-on-one interactions between Asahi and the members of his team back at the Command HQ. The social aspect, in which dialogue is handled in the manner of a visual novel, is loaded with entertaining writing, though Asahi“s squad mates are very heavily defined by predictable tropes. Unfortunately, the game falters elsewhere. The combat system in Dark Rose Valkyrie attempts a degree of complexity that“s undercut by what could be best described as design bloat. The basic idea behind the combat system, which is turn-based and gives all party members various melee, ranged, and special art attacks, is interesting on paper, but for as many commands as the battle menu lists, a good chunk of them don“t feel necessary, if not useless. I stopped using the Charge command, the second command in the menu listed right under the basic “Attack”, because it did little to nothing any time I used it and the game was terrible at explaining its function. This bloat extends outside of battles, as well. The party members can all be outfitted with a wide range of equipment to boost their parameters, and unlocking new equipment in the shop requires the player retrieve items out in the field that can be used to make this new gear, in addition to spending money. But money is also required to repair and enhance the party“s outfits, which take battle damage and can be destroyed if the enemies deal enough damage. On top of this, money is also necessary to spend at the infirmary to help party members recover from fatigue that only accumulates when the Ignition command is used to enhance their power in battle. The design is certainly ambitious, and it“s not without its share of successes. But the volume of concepts that the game throws at the player, many of which I haven“t even begun to outline, make it feel as though the designers threw all of their ideas into a pot without being mindful of how well they would all mesh together. There are multiple levels of attack strength that determine how long it takes for an attack to trigger after selection, and each character has multiple basic attack combos under the Attack command to choose from with different properties. The reserve party members can jump in and deal damage as a team, or individual reserves can assist a specific character on offense or defense, but their participation is entirely random. Another point where the game falls short is in its side missions. While there is a decent variety in the types of missions available, the game does not do a good job of explaining where you need to go to complete them. A mission may require hunting a specific monster in a dungeon, but rather than mark that monster“s location on the minimap, the game“s only indication of where to find the creature is a small screenshot in the mission description. At one point, I wandered in circles for an hour trying to figure out where a particular Chimera I needed to hunt was without success, only to stumble across it when in a corner of the map. I might have given up on it had it not been one of the side missions required to progress the story. In the introduction, I alluded to the presence of a gimmick at the heart of the plot of Dark Rose Valkyrie. As the game“s marketing has made a point of this, it“s fair to at least provide this spoiler: One of Asahi“s party members will become a traitor. While such a plot twist isn“t novel in and of itself, it“s the manner in which the game handles this twist that stands out. The identity of the traitor is not a fixed point in the narrative. Different players will see a different character turn traitor, and while I“m not knowledgeable of all of the mechanisms in play that determine who, the game begins with a personality test that undoubtedly plays a role in this decision. Primary gimmick aside, the game“s presentation is kind of a mixed bag. The music is suitable, but doesn“t really stand out, and the dungeon and overworld environments feel simplistic and bland. On the other hand, the game“s character designs, created by manga illustrator and Tales of character designer Kousuke Fujishima, are excellent. And in lieu of traditional static character portraits, the game uses a technique that gives the portrait figures an eye-catching degree of animation. As much as I“d like to enjoy Dark Rose Valkyrie, it“s held back by obtuse and unnecessary mechanics and systems. My time with it has been a rollercoaster; there are high points, mostly in the social aspects, that I honestly like, but then the more frustrating aspects rear their head and the game becomes a slog. The game isn“t entirely without merit, and fans of Idea Factory games will probably get their money“s worth, but anyone looking for a more polished experience should look elsewhere. Pros + The plot is structured around an interesting premise of betrayal + Great character designs by Kousuke Fujishima + The leveling system allows for customizing party member growth + Entertaining visual novel-style interactions with party members Cons - Bloated gameplay systems make the game more convoluted than complex - Side mission objective information can be obtuse and unclear - Bland dungeon environments and enemy designs - Difficulty is strangely tuned, with the only options being Easy, Hard, and Very Hard Overall Score: 6 (out of 10) Decent Fans of Idea Factory games will probably get their money“s worth, but anyone looking for a more polished experience should look elsewhere. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS4 code provided by the publisher
  12. Sony just revealed the Playstation Plus lineup for June, giving you some new games to play while you wait for all the awesome new games that will be shown at E3. Here's the full lineup: Killing Floor 2, PS4 Life is Strange, PS4 Abyss Odyssey, PS3 WRC 5: World Rally Championship, PS3 Neon Chrome, PS Vita (crossbuy with PS4) Spy Chameleon, PS Vita (crossbuy on PS4) Killing Floor 2 and Life Be Strange are the obvious standouts here. I haven't played either one (I've had Life is Strange on Steam forever and still haven't gotten around to it...) but compared to the rest of the lineup they're relatively big-name games. Abyss Odyssey is pretty cool, though it's a shame it's not cross-buy with the enhanced PS4 version. Spy Chameleon is kinda fun, I dunno anything about WRC or Neon Chrome though. Anyway, what do you all think about the lineup? If nothing else maybe we could all get together for some Killing Floor 2 matches sometime.
  13. barrel

    Review: Guilty Gear Xrd: REV 2

    Developer: Arc System Works Publisher: Aksys Games Platform: PC, PS4, and PS3 Release Date: May 26, 2017 ESRB: T for Teen Note: This review is based on the PS4 version of the game It is hard to be proud of a beautiful series' 3D resurrection in Gear Gear Xrd-SIGN- when it is already so eager follow in the shallow re-release footsteps that plagued Gear Gear X2 for nearly ten years. Despite somewhat feeling like what the original release should've been at launch last year's rocking Gear Gear Xrd: Revelator generally earned its place as a bombastic fighting game follow-up. That game had it all: a fully-featured sequel story mode (that gets surprisingly good), five entirely new characters, smartly revamped gameplay systems and online, and essentially the best tutorial in a fighting game ever. This year's annual follow-up in Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2 has, well, two new characters and feels like a premium balance patch for the most part. Now, I'm not going to lie. I genuinely adore Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2's two new playable characters. Baiken and Answer feel right at home with the already wonderful diverse character cast and now brings the current total to 25. The fan-favorite Rurouni Kenshin inspired and one-armed lady samurai Baiken finally makes a return in Xrd's gorgeous 3D art style. Retaining familiar skills like randomly kicking a tatami mat into the air, grabbing foes from afar with a weird mechanical claw, and even her signature parry-focused mechanic are there as well as a few others. Baiken does seem simplified compared to her 2D counterpart, especially her combos, but she remains quite enjoyable to play and her rejiggered parry mechanic still feels very execution heavy to use effectively. Oddly enough, despite myself and many others begging to see Baiken in Xrd for years (which she should've been there day one), my favorite of the two new characters to play is actually that of the businessman ninja: Answer. While if it easy to shrug him off when we already have a ninja as cool as Chipp Zanuff fulfilling that role, Answer has a lot of intriguing tricks to his gameplay arsenal. In one moment Answer is tossing business cards, and in the next he's doing Naruto styled ninpo shenanigans mid-air, all while trying to maintain an important phone call in the midst of battle. Best of all -- he has a Ninja Gaiden styled Izuna Drop too, so that's awesome There really is not a whole lot new aside from those two (very fun to play) new characters, however. Everything else included comes across as very subtle gameplay refinements more than anything else. Don't get me wrong, if you haven't played the previous iteration Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator, Rev 2 is absolutely worth one's time and may arguably be the best 2D styled fighter this console generation. As a retail follow-up to Revelator, however, it is quite lacking as an overall package. For returning players from Revelator it can certainly come off as a $20 DLC pack with two new characters (or $40 if one is getting the disc version to replace it) and character re-balancing. Sure, some characters have new abilities, like Faust has extra items to toss or Ramlethal gets two added sword skills, but most of the cast has seen very few significant balance changes (Both my boys Slayer and Potemkin got almost no changes at all despite being extremely low ranked competitively). That said, it is kind of neat that one can change between the balance changes in Revelator and Rev 2 at any time though if one is so inclined. While this update approach is not entirely uncalled for for Arc System Works standards -- as they are notorious for character DLC being sold at $8 a piece -- it can still feel quite thin especially for how few single player additions were added as well. What new single player content it does include does not really help Rev 2's case either. Former characters that didn't have arcade mode-like "Character episodes" now have them as well the two newcomers but they generally add so little story-wise beyond teasing at least one more familiar Guilty Gear X2 face (which will highly likely be DLC or appear in yet another future version). The most substantial piece of storytelling is in the "After Story A" chapter which, while decent, takes less than 20 minutes to complete following the main story (though, it's safe to assume there will be more to come based on naming alone). Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2 is Arc System Works's most obvious attempt of a retail cash grab under the Guilty Gear Xrd name. As tempting as it is to praise an already great fighter that brings just enough excuses to play it once more -- like two awesome and very fun new characters. It is difficult to not feel somewhat shortchanged following right after last year's iteration when Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2 is willing to offer so little that is genuinely fresh as a whole. If one hasn't played Guilty Gear Xrd in any form, this is technically the most complete version to date with a budgeted retail price of $40. If you have, well, Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2 does not make any real strides to impress beyond satisfying die hard Guilty Gear fans that are willing to pay for what is basically $20 DLC pack with balance changes and two new characters. Pros + Wonderfully diverse list of playable fighters with both Xrd newcomers, Baiken and Answer, being awesome additions + Still the best looking 2D fighter on the market + Neat refinements to the online lobby interface Cons - Pretty thin single player additions with only a few new character episodes and a brief "After Story" chapter - Is kind of difficult to look at it as anything more than a $20 dlc pack for two characters if one is coming off of Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator - Danger time is still a bad mechanic - Some baffling balance changes (or lack thereof) Overall Score: 6 (out of 10) Decent As great of a fighter as Gear Gear Xrd has become Gear Gear Xrd: Rev 2 makes a paltry argument as a re-release for anyone less than serious fans Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS4 code provided by the publisher.
  14. Developer: Aquaplus and Sting Publisher: Atlus USA Platform: PS4 and PS Vita Release Date: May 23, 2017 ESRB: M for Mature Note: This review is based on the PS Vita version of the game Developer Aquaplus is at it once again by mixing two unlikely gameplay genres into one mysterious form. Their newest culmination of this concept is that of part visual novel and part turn-based strategy-RPG game titled Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception on PS4/Vita. Despite technically being a sequel to a fairly old Japan-only PC game back in 2002 plainly named "Utawarerumono", Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception still somehow strongly feels like first entry in spite of it. Character relationships and backstories have been rebuilt from scratch, so whatever memory I thought I had of the original series (after seeing the 2006 anime adaption) feels like a deception despite wearing a mask of familiar themes and names. Which is perfectly fine by me, and likely a would-be broader audience as well. Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is more than willing to replace whatever gaps in knowledge one may have about its original source material by slowly filling it in with a whole new legend. Admittedly I had a general gist of what I signed up for after having played the overlooked PS3 gem, Tears to Tiara II: Heir of the Overlord, a few years ago by the same developer. Yet, even I still underestimated just how Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is far more of a visual novel than it is a tactical-RPG. What is more bizarre is that SRPG portions aren't even half bad, actually. But whatever strategic gameplay it has can feel like a huge afterthought when it is buried in what is occasionally around four hours of uninterrupted visual novel exposition. As a visual novel first and foremost Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is incredibly meticulously paced with its storytelling. It uses the time-worn amnesiac trope with its lead protagonist who starts off without any memories of his past in the middle of a random snowfield. Saved from a near-death experience by an animal-eared (and tailed) lady apothecary named Kuon, she decides to adopt the amnesiac lead on a whim as a sort of parental figure and bestow upon him the name "Haku". From then on it gets into a disjointed rhythm of having Haku slowly but surely learn more about the world around him as he accompanies the mysterious apothecary, and his newfound guardian, on her journey throughout the region. When it comes to storytelling Utawaremono: Mask of Deception does a lot really well, and in nearly equal parts extremely poorly too. It all pretty much has to do with the narrative's pacing. By far the worst of it is in its first half. The storytelling is intriguing enough starting out, but is a rather noticeable slow burn. Kuon keeps the habitually lazy Haku in check by subtly imposing upon him the mentality of "He who doesn't work doesn't eat", and there is strong world-building that is thoroughly steeped in an own sense of internal culture all the while (despite some clear feudal Japan influence). As soon as the storytelling moves to the royal city of Mikato the narrative's pace quickly grinds to a halt, however. Serving as a sort of quick and unfortunate tone setter, player's are almost immediately greeted to a random anime "fanservice" hot springs scene right when they arrive in Mikado. And... it's kind of like that for the next ten hours. There is a lot of intended levity from then on out. Sure, it has plenty of world-building and character introductions during this time too. More often than not, it feels like a shameless excuse to throw in perverted wardrobe malfunction moments, Fujoshi gags, and rampant drunken shenanigans for quite some time. It is very frustrating to see such a promising world and cast be bogged down by back to back slice-of-life styled anime pandering. Surprisingly, the written localization and fully-dubbed Japanese voice work are actually quite good and often reads well in spite of this, so several jokes and quips hit their mark despite me not being enchanted by the general context. By and large, though, it feels as if the first half is really dragged out by wholly unnecessary fluff when faced with its larger and far more engaging overarching storytelling. No better proof of concept than that of when second half of the narrative kicks in and is far better. Seriously, it's really good. The pervading narrative tone becomes darker and more mature. This is no small thanks due to a bigger emphasis on wartime conflict and political intrigue styled storytelling. It is a real stark contrast to what was hours upon hours of regurgitated alcoholism jokes and skeezy fanservice scenes not too long before. For as much as I may complain about the first half, Utawarerumono does also thrive on interpersonal storytelling as well and that's prevalent throughout. Kuon in particular is a very fascinating character and is a clear standout amongst a majority of the cast. While most others, being generally (or eventually) likable, they more or less adhere to a set of familiar character traits throughout, almost regardless of whatever tone the main narrative decides to take the form of. Also around the second half the title is more willing to remind the player (all be it, still infrequently) that it is an strategy-RPG too. Co-developer Sting is certainly no stranger to solid tactical RPGs and the gameplay of Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is no exception. Compared to Sting's usually enigmatic take on the subgenre combat is mostly standard fare for turn-based strategy-RPGs standards. Most mission objectives are not anything more complex than defeating one or more enemies on small maps. That said, it is usually good about making each player character have their own pretty unique skillsets and applications in battles. Haku for instance is fairly weak in traditional combat (just like in the main narrative), and is more about passively supporting nearby allies and debuffing enemies. On the other end, the close-ranged fighter Atuy can forcibly stop enemies from moving with her mere presence and potentially get a bonus action upon defeating a foe. The gameplay also applies a few more distinct spins with the general flow to help make it more feel more active. Most attack or support actions can be followed with chains skills where depending on if the player presses, or holds, the X button at the right time they can eek out just a bit more potency or special properties out of their skills. This applies to defensive skills as well and it's real satisfying to prevent what would've been fatal damage by timing a good block or dodge. If one finds that to be too much work regardless players can simply toggle 'auto-chain' at any time, even if they miss out on the chance to pull off criticals. Speaking of such conveniences, the game also has a few nice interface touches like being able to rewind turns, see predicted damage/counter outcomes, or participate in free battles. Going briefly back to storytelling, there is more that bears mentioning during the second act. Most importantly of note is that the finale does in-fact end on a cliffhanger -- and a mean one at that. It is certainly exciting leading up that point but it is more than abundantly clear it serves as groundwork for its sequel Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth that comes out later this September. With a standard playthrough of Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception taking a bit under forty hours can make it seem all the more cruel. But I suppose during that wait players can occupy themselves with several optional, and challenging, post-main story battles that give the underutilized combat more time to stretch its legs. For as many criticisms I can easily level against it, specifically the terribly paced first half, I feel much more positive than not about Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception as a whole. I think much of that can be attributed to a sort of indecipherable sincerity that is buried underneath the intricate world-building and likable characters that it all takes place around. Plus, while very underutilized, strategy-RPG portions are enjoyable too. Regardless, it demands an unreasonable amount of patience out of most players to overlook such glaring shortcomings as a visual novel. Which, frankly, I doubt most are willing to spare. It is also difficult tell if even such persistence will be rewarded during the upcoming sequel Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth that is being released September of this year. Despite Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception running the gamut of emotions and testing my patience more than a few times, however, I think it says a lot that I am still quite eagerly looking forward to playing its sequel despite all odds of the experience being stacked against it. Pros + Storytelling gets quite good and rather dark in its latter portions + Highly thorough sense of world-building that creates a vivid sense of various cultures + Well-drawn character art + Kuon is an excellent character and keeps the whiny lead in check + SRPG battles are actually rather solid and don't really force grinding Cons - Terrible narrative pacing. The first half especially which is incredibly obnoxious with anime "fanservice" moments - Is far more of a visual novel than an SRPG, which is likely off-putting for those expecting more traditional gameplay -3D visuals are real underwhelming - Ends with a pretty mean cliffhanger: AKA wait until Utawarerumono: The Mask of Truth in September Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good In some moments engrossing, and in equal parts a frustrating slog, Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception demands an immense amount of patience to see it through to completion for more reasons than one. For those willing to undergo such tall demands may uncover a heartfelt adventure that is better than the sum of its parts Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS Vita code provided by the publisher.
  15. Developer: Kou Shibusawa Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date: April 25, 2017 ESRB: E10+ Note: This review is based on the PS4 version of the game Last year, Koei Tecmo brought Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII, the latest entry in the long-running strategy series, to the west. Though a very challenging game, it also proved to be a rewarding experience to those with a taste for the complex systems it“s built on. And now the publisher has released a proper expansion pack entitled Fame and Strategy that attempts to add more of both into the core gameplay. Unlike last year“s Nobunaga“s Ambition: Sphere of Influence – Ascension, a stand-alone title that was built on the mechanics of the original Sphere of Influence, Fame and Strategy is strictly an expansion pack. (You can read my thoughts on the original Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII release here.) It adds some new scenarios based on events of the source novel and ancient Chinese history, but the meat of the expansion is in how it builds upon the established gameplay. As hinted at by the title, Fame and Strategy brings new gameplay concepts to the table that focus on these aspects. In terms of “Fame,” there is now an officer prestige system. Essentially, as the player“s officer acquires fame, new prestige titles can be unlocked that grant the officer new abilities. These titles exist on what amount to skill trees and have the ability to enhance officers of any standing. Even as a free officer, or an officer that is unaligned with any established force, it“s possible to gain fame and prestige, and use that to build up an independent force. On the “Strategy” side, the expansion introduces war councils, which allow for planning special tactics to use in the coming battle. During the battles themselves, there are new tactical points present on the battlefields that, when under the player“s control, enable the use of these tactics. These new features do add twists to how battles play out, but ideally, to make the best use of them, the player should already have a good grasp on how combat worked in the original release. Fortunately, Fame and Strategy does add two new side stories to the game“s Hero Mode. Effectively the tutorial, Hero Mode introduces the expansion“s new gameplay concepts in these scenarios. It should be stressed, however, that Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII was already a challenging game, and Fame and Strategy does not ease up. In the original release, Hero Mode scenarios would often introduce new concepts, and then instruct the player to complete the scenario before throwing them to the wolves, and these new Hero Mode challenges are no different. There is a Help menu that gives guidance on the game“s many gameplay topics, but learning in Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII is generally done by doing, and most likely failing. That“s not necessarily a bad thing, but Fame and Strategy in no way makes things easier for newcomers. It only serves to make an already complex game more complex. The one proper new mode outside of the core gameplay that Fame and Strategy introduces is Edit Events. As a way to create custom events to insert into scenarios, it“s both fascinating and incredibly daunting with the numerous menu options for customization. Some sample events are included so that novice event designers aren“t forced to create new events from scratch, and events can be shared online, so examples are never too far away. But in terms of creating a new event, from the various steps involved in selecting the right event triggers and describing the actual text content, building a quality custom event is not a simple task. This is an unusual review for me to write, as it“s the first time that I“ve reviewed a proper expansion pack to an existing game. In that sense, it can be difficult to separate my feelings on the original release from Fame and Strategy because so much of what the expansion offers is deeply intertwined into the original Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII. In that sense, I suppose it“s fair to consider this text an expansion of my review of the original release. If you liked Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII and wanted more, or a new reason to jump back in, then Fame and Strategy should have you covered. Pros + New gameplay features add even more depth to an already deep strategy game and are woven into the core gameplay well + All of the features of the original release are still here + Edit Event mode offers an enticing new way to customize campaigns Cons - Playing the game with a console gamepad can still be awkward at points - The expansion does nothing to make introducing the game to newcomers any easier Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great If you liked Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII and wanted more, or a new reason to jump back in, then Fame and Strategy should have you covered. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS4 code from the publisher
  16. Harrison Lee

    Review: Full Throttle Remastered

    Developer: Double Fine Productions, Shiny Shoe Publisher: Double Fine Productions Platform: PC, PS4, PS Vita Release Date: April 18, 2017 ESRB: T for Teen Note: This review is based on the PC version of the game A few years ago, I was at a yard sale digging through a box of old PC games when I hit upon a floppy disk copy of Day of the Tentacle. I was born in the mid-90“s and had missed out on this LucasArts gem of point-and-click adventure mayhem. To be honest, I still haven“t popped the game in. No one uses floppy disks anymore and I don“t have the hardware to run it. Funny, right? Someone at Double Fine must have heard my groans over not getting to experience the classics because we“ve been graced with Full Throttle Remastered, a spruced-up version of Tim Schafer“s darkly-comedic bikerthon. Does the updated version do the original game justice, or is this remaster out of gas? Above: Original Release Below: Remastered Version I didn“t get to play the original Full Throttle, but Double Fine has included the unedited version of the game alongside the remaster. At any point, you can toggle between the gorgeous original pixel art and the new hand-drawn look. The audio has also been given a proper makeover, with voice-overs sounding crystal clear and the rockin“ soundtrack popping in the background. While the remaster does a good job updating the look and feel of the game, I prefer the original pixel art to the remastered version. The new art just doesn“t feel quite right, though it“s definitely respectful of the original game. The remixed audio, however, is blissfully pleasant to listen to. Full Throttle follows the exploits of the rough-and-tumble Ben and his biker-gang, the Polecats, in a dystopic post-apocalypse world. Only one company builds road hogs in this desolate era, and the Polecats are front and center in a plot to reconfigure the company to build… mini-vans. Ben becomes the fall-guy in a murder conspiracy and has to battle numerous obstacles to save the company, the Polecats, and the spirit of motorcycling. Along the way, he befriends a well-characterized supporting cast and solves a host of entertaining puzzles. Few challenges stand in Ben“s way for more than a few minutes, and the ride is over before you know it. But what a ride Full Throttle is. Tim Schafer“s ode to biker gangs won“t last you more than the average Call of Duty game, but it“s a well-paced, entertaining dramedy all the same. That said, there are a few speed-bumps in the experience. Some noticeably unsmooth transitions rear their heads in cut-scenes, and audio occasionally drops out completely as a new scene is loaded. The bike combat, maligned when the game originally came out, also hasn“t aged well. It“s a bit clunky, but is mercifully over in short order. An object-highlighting feature has also been added to help you find solutions to the puzzles faster. I noticed it rarely highlighted the objects I needed to pick up and use, so I“m not sure how much time it really saved me. Not that Full Throttle needs to go any faster, mind you. I“m a bit ashamed to admit Full Throttle occasionally tested my wits. I don“t often play point-and-click adventures (barring the Sherlock Holmes series), and there were a few moments where the puzzle solutions had me a little baffled. In the context of the scenario, the solutions made sense. I just didn“t pick up on them in time. It“s refreshing to see a game that moves at a brisk pace, yet isn“t afraid to apply the brakes and force you to think. Full Throttle isn“t terribly difficult, but there are a few puzzles that might have you consulting a walkthrough. Full Throttle is LucasArts“s often-overlooked adventuring gem. While I missed it the first time, I“m happy to report it“s absolutely worth playing, even in this day age. The quippy one-liners, entertaining plot, well-defined character archetypes, and occasionally challenging puzzles all add up to a fun ride. Full Throttle never overstays its welcome and is a little shorter than I“d like, but you“ll enjoy the rush while it“s there. Don“t miss this great update to a classic. Pros + A unique sense of humor and place + Entertaining, well-written plot + The original pixel art is as beautiful as ever + The remastered audio is excellent Cons - The combat sequences are still rough - A few awkward scene transitions here and there Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Full Throttle is a fast-paced, enjoyable point-and-click adventure that will inspire nostalgia in the most devoted LucasArts fans, while welcoming genre newcomers with beefy, grease-covered arms. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  17. Developer: Spike Chunsoft Publisher: Aksys Games Platform: PC, PS4, and PS Vita Release Date: March 24, 2017 ESRB: M for Mature Note: This review is based on the PS Vita version of the game To think that not too long ago it was nearly unconscionable to believe that the visual novel adventure game series Zero Escape would reach its third game conclusion. Nowadays, it just pops in one's brain as a matter of fact. Still, with each game's naming subtitle being harder to discern than the last it can be difficult to know where to start if one has so much as a passing interest in the Zero Escape series and was not already an established fan. Fortunately, Spike Chunsoft has read everyone's mind and got you covered. Zero Escape: The Nonary Games is a collection of the first two games of the Zero Escape trilogy: Featuring Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (usually abbreviated as 999) and its direct sequel Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward. Both well known for their engaging, thought-provoking storytelling and copious amounts of puzzles to solve. Two beloved games: one retail package. Though, it is unfortunate that it does not also include last year's final release in the trilogy, Zero Time Dilemma, but I suppose as someone from that title would say: "Life is simply unfair" in that regard. What is totally fair is just how much of an overhaul that the first title in the series, 999, received specifically for The Nonary Games collection. I am pleased to report that those curious about the first release in the Zero Escape series will find no better place to play it than in the The Nonary Games collection. While 999's revised script does have a penchant towards more profanity it generally reads more naturally than that of the original release and the newly added, and great overall, English dub that only heightens the most of the storytelling. More importantly than either of those are the fairly huge quality of life changes: primarily being the narrative flowchart (formally only available in Virtue's Last Reward and on). The flowchart alone nearly entirely removes the monotony of trying to obtain the narrative's many branching endings and I can not stress at how it saved me from losing nearly eight hours of progress because I attempted to get the true ending a little too early and led myself to a bad ending on accident. Then there are more minor touches like making the game entirely playable via button controls, which honestly are more responsive than either of its sequels and I am surprised I did not find myself compelled to use a capacitive stylus by the end of it. The only real disappointment, when compared to the original Nintendo DS version, is that an iconic final puzzle sequence that cleverly utilized both screens of that system is not quite as well realized in The Nonary Games release. While they find a very smart way to convey the same storytelling themes, even without the use of dual screens, they unfortunately changed the entire final puzzle itself and it comes off as less satisfying because of it. The second half of the collection, that being Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, I have far less to say about. Don't get me wrong: Virtue's Last Reward is an brilliant title with its crafty puzzles to its fairly nuanced storytelling that range from occult to metaphysical themes. There was absolutely a reason fans begged so hard for a follow-up to it during years to come. But-- it is also the same exact game in The Nonary Games collection with virtually no changes on the Vita hardware specifically, for better or worse. Plus, I don't want to retread familiar ground that a former GP review more than faithfully covered many years back (except that I may disagree about it being best on 3DS. That save-corrupting bug never went away on that system. Play Virtue's Last Reward just about anywhere else now that this collection is out...). The Nonary Games provides an excellent excuse to play what are not only the first entries in "Zero Escape", but are also arguably the best titles in the series as well. Yet, The Nonary Games it has two key caveats. The first caveat being that the collection completely omits the third and final release in the collection, making it feel hardly complete. The other caveat is that the only game to truly see any refinements is the first title in the series by the name of 999, and its sequel Virtue's Last Reward remains entirely unchanged. It is a perfect stepping stone into the beloved Zero Escape series, though it bizarrely lacks the final piece to safely journey through it to its conclusion. Pros + The two best games in the Zero Escape series in one convenient collection + Easily the most intuitive way to play 999 to date with wonderful design changes to alleviate much of its former gameplay tedium + Gripping storytelling in both with plenty of very thought provoking moments + Great English dub in both games + Solid puzzles Cons - A certain key scene at the end of 999 is not depicted quite as well as the original Nintendo DS version - Virtue's Last Reward controls are finicky if you aren't playing with a capacitive stylus - Some puzzle rooms can feel like a pixel hunt to progress at times - Does not include the final game in the trilogy: Zero Time Dilemma Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great Providing a wonderful start towards the "Zero Escape" series, The Nonary Games prides itself on offering the best, and most convenient, way to the first two releases within it. It is just a shame that the last year's title: Zero Time Dilemma, and also final game within the trilogy, is not included in this collection to top it all off. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS Vita code provided by the publisher.
  18. This year has been great for hand-drawn animated games so far (see: Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap in particular), and the train is about to continue with the release of 2D platformer Seasons After Fall when it hits consoles next week. In the game, you play as a fox who has the ability to change seasons, altering and manipulating the world in order to progress. For example, spring rain will raise water levels, waterfalls freeze in winter, summer will cause plants to grow and so forth. Also, the music is performed by a live string quartet and -- did I mention the game looks gorgeous? If you're into platformers, this looks to be one you should keep your eyes on for sure. You can check out the game's trailer below. While it actually released first on PC in 2016, Seasons After Fall hits Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on May 16 next week. Source: Press Release Are you interested in checking out Seasons After Fall?
  19. Sony has revealed next month's lineup of free games for PS Plus members, and, well, just have a look for yourself and decide if you're excited! Full lineup: Tales from the Borderlands, PS4 Abzu, PS4 Blood Knights, PS3 Port Royale 3: Pirates and Merchants, PS3 Laser Disco Defenders, PS Vita (Cross Buy with PS4) Type:Rider, PS Vita (Cross Buy on PS4) So, from me, Tales from the Borderlands is hilarious and worth playing even if you know nothing about the Borderlands series, so that's a big plus for next month's selection. Of course it was also on sale for like $3 a while back so anyone interested probably already has it now. I know Abzu will be interesting to some people, so I'll leave my personal feelings on it aside. Blood Knights is an okay-ish hack 'n slash and I don't really know anything about the other games, so it doesn't seem like an amazing month but I guess it's not the worst month ever either. What do you all think?
  20. If you're getting a bit bored playing Overwatch's current set of maps, I have good news for you: the game's director, Jeff Kaplan, mentioned in the Overwatch forums on Battle.net that the team currently has three new maps in development for Quick Play and Competitive modes. Kaplan also said they've passed the initial playtesting phase but cautioned that "something could always change." In the event that everything works out, he said that a release this year was "likely." Of course, that's not the only thing the Overwatch team is working on; Kaplan mentioned that three non-standard maps (not QP or Competitive) were also in the works along with various other experiments. Considering that seasonal events have kept the fanbase engaged over the last year, it seems pretty likely that potential new events are part of those experiments. Overwatch's latest seasonal event Uprising began just a few weeks ago, in which players experience a pivotal moment right before the fall of Overwatch. Source: Battle.net (via Game Informer) Are you excited for new Overwatch maps?
  21. Flinthook Developer: Tribute Games Publisher: Tribute Games Genre: Platformer Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC (Steam) If you love indie games and platformers but you've never heard of Tribute Games before, they'll certainly be on your radar after today. Most recently known for Mercenary Kings and the Mega Man-inspired Ninja Senki DX, Tribute Games focuses on pixel-stylized action and platforming games, not unlike some of the great classics of yesteryear. In Flinthook, you play as a space pirate who uses a hook device to zip around procedurally-generated levels and plunder treasure and the like. Check out the trailer above! Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Series Developer: Telltale Games Publisher: Telltale Games Genre: Episodic Point and Click Adventure Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Android, iOS Before 2014, almost no one outside of the comics realm knew who the Guardians of the Galaxy are, but thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe film of the same, Star-Lord and his crew are some of the hottest new heroes around. Telltale's new episodic series continues the same fun and edgy vibe projected in the movie while taking the crew on a new story that will test each team member's resolve. Plus Thanos is in it, so... instabuy, right? Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap Developer: Lizardcube Publisher: DotEmu Genre: Action platformer Platform: PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC (Steam) I didn't grow playing SEGA games in my household, so I missed out on the Wonder Boy series up till now. Turns out that was a huge mistake, as Wonder Boy is one of the best platformer series of yesteryear, and Lizardcube and DotEmu's have given Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap one of the best-looking makeovers I've ever seen for a game that came out close to 30 years ago. Disney Afternoon Collection Developer: Digital Eclipse, Capcom Publisher: Capcom Genre: Action platformer, shmup Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC Ducktales. Darkwing Duck. Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers. Tale-Spin. What more could you ask for than some of the most classic animated cartoons from the '90s? If you've never played their companion games that came out for the NES (or even if you have), this is an amazing way to experience them all. Seriously, these are some of the best licensed games of all time, and most of them hold up extremely well. Full Throttle Remastered Developer: Double Fine Games Publisher: Double Fine Games Genre: Point and Click Adventure Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC First it was Grim Fandango. Then Day of the Tentacle. And now, LucasArts' classic Full Throttle is getting the remaster treatment courtesy of Tim Schafer's Double Fine. Though not was well known as the former mentioned games, Full Throttle was an interesting game about a biker who gets tangled up in a tale of intrigue, and this is the best way to experience it nowadays. Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom Developer: Enigami Publisher: Focus Home Games Genre: Action RPG Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC It seems rare that we get full 3D RPGs from indie devs these days, but Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom definitely deserves props for being one of the best looking and most interesting in recent times. In Shiness, your crew of characters gets caught up in a conflict spanning multiple kingdoms and takes you on a journey through a universe on the verge of collapse. Let us know which of these games you're thinking of buying this week!
  22. Getting a new numbered Dragon Quest game is a pretty rare and special event these days, similar to getting new console Zelda titles. Fortunately, Japanese fans of the series finally got to hear what they had been waiting for -- the game's release date. Square Enix announced that Dragon Quest XI: In Search of Departed Time will be released in Japan on July 29 on both PlayStation 4 and 3DS. Hardware bundles are underway for each version from their prospective platform holders (Sony and Nintendo), and it was also announced that the story would take some 50 hours to complete, with side quests bringing the total amount to 100 hours in all. Trailers were also shown as well. Check out the one below that mixes the PS4 and 3DS footage together. Hopefully a North American release date isn't far off. We'll be getting a new Nintendo Direct detailing upcoming games so perhaps we'll hear something then or at E3 in two months. Source: Gematsu Are you looking forward to Dragon Quest XI?
  23. Hailinel

    Review: Toukiden 2

    Developer: Omega Force Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games Platform: PlayStation 4, PS Vita, PC Release Date: March 21, 2017 ESRB: T for Teen Note: This review is based on the PS4 version of the game After the Monster Hunter series jumped from the PSP to the 3DS as the franchise“s platform of choice, several companies tried their hands at the format to fill in the hunting gap on the Vita. One such game was Koei Tecmo“s Toukiden: The Age of Demons -- a game that, while it held very close to the gameplay structure of Monster Hunter, distinguished itself with a creative historical setting and gameplay elements that made it more than a simple clone. After following the initial release with an enhanced PS4 version in Toukiden Kiwami, the developer Omega Force has brought about its first true sequel in Toukiden 2. Set after the events of the first game, Toukiden 2 returns to the Midlands; the last remaining region of what was once Meiji-era Japan where humans live in a world overrun with demons, or oni. As in the first game, the player takes on the role of a slayer whose name and appearance can be customized, and whose job is to leave the confines of Mahoroba Village and protect it from the relentless hordes. There are a few callbacks to the original game, as well as returning faces, but the story doesn“t require knowledge of the first Toukiden in order to follow along. The storyline is surprisingly strong, with characters that start off as one-note showing more depth over time. A stark factional split keeps the village divided politically to a seemingly irreparable degree, which at times leads to some surprising but effective moments of drama and tragedy. The conflict is exacerbated by both human faults and oni attacks, but the narrative is kept light enough with plenty of humorous moments, as well. As a hunting game, Toukiden 2 strays from the first game“s formula in a significant way with the introduction of an open world. Unlike the first game, which used Monster Hunter-style maps of segmented zones, the map in Toukiden 2 is one large landmass populated with oni, side quests, and hidden secrets. What“s more, the world can be explored freely at will without a time limit; instead, a restriction is placed on the player in the form of the miasma gauge, which measures the player“s exposure to a toxic atmosphere created by oni. In regions of the map where miasma is thicker, the gauge will fill at a faster clip, though making progress in the story and by clearing map waypoints will reduce the miasma and make it easier to explore more of the map over time. The new map indeed goes a long way in giving the game“s world a sense of place. In the original game, the player visited different maps referred to as ages, such as the Age of Grace, Age of War, or Age of Chaos. Each of these maps was thematically based on an era of Japanese history, but there wasn“t anything to link them, other than they“re all accessible by leaving the village through its lone gate. Toukiden 2 reintroduces the ages as regions of the map, interconnected with each other and the outskirts of Mahoroba. In sum, the world feels vast, with a lot to explore, and only a small portion is seen while sticking close to the main story. The combat in Toukiden 2 also receives an upgrade in the Demon Hand. This new tool, which is essentially a spectral grappling arm, lets the player grab on to oni from a distance to close the gap or trip them up. When a special gauge is filled, using the arm on a giant oni will instantly tear off one of its limbs, weakening the demon while dealing heavy damage. The Demon Hand also has its uses outside of combat, allowing for some light traversal as well as destroying barriers that blockade select routes. It“s a little unwieldy to use at first, as it takes some time to get used to aiming, and in single-player, the AI partners tend to be much faster in using their own Demon Hands, getting into the fray before the player. It doesn“t take long to get used to, however. Toukiden 2 offers multiplayer that lets four players team up on oni-slaying missions together. These missions, also available in single-player, are analogous to the missions that the first game was structured around. In general, they“re short, sweet, and quick to jump into. After accepting a mission and heading for the gate, the game will take the players straight to a portion of the world map that has been cordoned off as the mission area. And once the target oni are slain, the mission ends, and it“s easy enough to jump right into another. The Mitama system from the original game also returns with some upgrades, allowing the player to equip Mitama for offense, defense, and the Demon Hand, with effects that vary based on the type of Mitama equipped. The Mitama equipped also determine what skills can be activated during battle, which can have a major effect on your play style and your role in a group, whether that be as an offense-focused attacker or a more support-oriented slayer with team-healing abilities. The system is of limited use in single-player (I made it through the story largely with the earliest acquired Mitama), but it offers more key significance in multiplayer. The vast majority of the game“s Mitama are based on figures from Japanese history and folklore, dating from the nation“s prehistoric era through the Meiji era and early twentieth century. Collecting these Mitama is one of the game“s more prominent side-tasks, and it“s worth it, not only for the varying abilities provided by them, but in learning their historical context, as each Mitama has its own accompanying biographical text. Certain Mitama that are historically associated, such as spouses, also provide extra boosts when equipped together. In terms of presentation, Toukiden 2 is on par with Kiwami in a technical sense, and shares the same art style, but with a greater sense of cohesion to its unified map. Many of the oni are distinctive and diverse in their design as well, with the giant oni standing out in particular. On the audio side, the game features well-done Japanese voice acting, though there aren“t any subtitles for incidental flavor dialogue party members may chatter in the field. The music, largely reminiscent of the original game, is of high quality and fits the mood and setting. But beyond those presentation checkmarks, Toukiden 2 is very much a sea-change in terms of being a sequel. While the original Toukiden and similar titles have been referred to as Monster Hunter clones for their not-too-subtle attempts at mimicking that franchise“s formula, the sequel takes great strides in furthering its own identity and creating a more unique experience as a result. It“s refreshing, and it makes for an easy recommendation. Pros + Open world structure gives the sequel a fresh take over the original + An entertaining story with fun characters + A great range of weapon types, as well as tutorials for each + Gameplay styles can be customized through equipping Mitama Cons - The camera can be obstructed at times when fighting giant oni in tight spaces - The game doesn“t do a perfect job of teaching all of its mechanics up front - The number of quests available in the open world feels somewhat sparse compared to the map“s size Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic Toukiden 2 takes great strides in furthering its own identity and creating a more unique experience as a result, making it a refreshing and easy recommendation. Disclosure: A downloadable PS4 code was provided by the publisher for this review
  24. Volition has long been known for their Saints Row series, but now they're finally trying their hand at their first new project in quite a while with Agents of Mayhem, and it's finally coming in late August. Agents of Mayhem may not be Saints Row per se but it carries a lot of the same gameplay characteristics, such as the focus on action, customization, an open world, and even some of the same style and humor. You can see for yourself in the newest trailer below, which details all 12 agents in the game. You can play Agents of Mayhem for yourself when it hits PS4, Xbox One, and PC on August 15. Source: PlayStation Blog Will you be checking out the game this Summer?
  25. You knew it would probably happen at some point, right? Yes, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, Jak II, Jak 3, and Jak X: Combat Racing are all coming to the PlayStation 4 as PS2 Classics later this year. Each game has been up-rendered to 1080p with trophy support and added features like Shareplay, Remote Play, and Activity Feeds. The Jak titles previously came to PlayStation 3 and PS Vita as the Jak and Daxter Collection (minus Jak X: Combat Racing), but it appears Sony is skipping the physical release route this time around and going PSN-only. While it's likely that many new fans will get to experience these games for the first time, perhaps Sony is also testing the waters for a potential new game in the series as well? We'll have to wait and see! Nothing about a specific release date has been mentioned beyond "later this year" so stay tuned for more on that front. Source: PlayStation Blog Will you be buying any of the Jak and Daxter games on PS4?
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