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Found 14 results

  1. Melty Blood: Actress Again Current Code, a game with a name that sounds a bit on the random side, is a unique sort of fighting game. But is it any good? Or should you take a pass on this anime-style fighting game and just go back to playing Guilty Gear or BlazBlue? Travis Stywall has the verdict in his video review; check it out! Be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube so we have an excuse to keep making videos! And be sure to check out Travis' channel as well.
  2. Developer: Tamsoft Publisher: XSEED Games Platform: 3DS Release Date: September 15, 2015 ESRB: M for Mature At one point, I would have used the term "plot" to both ironically and unironically to describe previous Senran Kagura games. Now, Senran Kagura Burst on 3DS was most certainly a flawed game, but the sincerity of its plot, despite its "plot" (aka shameless "fanservice"), caused me to like it perhaps more than I should have. Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus on Vita was less to my liking, however. It was ultimately a better game than Burst, but the title embraced far more "plot", rather than real plot, and played more like a Musou game rather than a beat 'em up. The latest localized 3DS title, Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson, has basically made me forget what promise I saw in both of those games. It is a bigger, flashier title than the original Senran Kagura Burst, and returns to a beat 'em up formula, yet it feels lacking in so many ways. On paper, Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson adds a fair bit to the series, especially in regards to variety (which was severely lacking in previous games). Everything from more unique enemy types to the more technical combat (... in theory) for the various characters, Deep Crimson clearly tries stand out with its second 3DS showing. The primary combat of the game is noticeably different from both Shinovi Versus and Burst, and sort of feels like a weird medium between the two. Though it is in complete 3D, like Shinovi Versus, Deep Crimson's combat itself plays more like a character-action game. Attacks feel like they are more designed to take out singular targets, rather than juggling entire groups at once like various Musou games. It also plays with visual perspective more. Whether this comes from quickly teleporting from the ground to beat up enemies floating mid-air or deliberately turning entire camera an entire level to give a side-scrolling feel, it feels less one-note than previous entries in general design. The most obvious new gameplay feature outright is that you can use two Shinobi at once in many battles. This goes as far as to have unique tag-team special moves for different characters pairs in addition to being able to swap between either of them on the fly (assuming they aren't incapacitated). To complement this addition more is the inclusion online multiplayer to play through various stages, from the lengthy main story or the huge level/costume unlock grind that is the Yoma's Den (there are A TON of costumes)... if you happen to find someone else willing to play this title proudly. I think where Deep Crimson broke for me the most is just how poorly balanced the actual combat is. It has what I would define as a Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge complex. It often feels like the title deliberately punishes you for trying to play it properly. For example, basic gameplay things like attack hitboxes outright whiffing, enemies randomly countering you mid-combo, or some enemy skills being pretty much unavoidable (without the invincibility of using super attacks, at least) makes standard combat frustrating. I could go on a separate rant about the suicidal ally AI or the awful camera (for side-scrolling stages in particular) too, but just take my word that both are rather poor. There were many fights where I simply fought exploiting the enemy's aggressive AI patterns, rather than trying to play the game properly with finesse or even fun, simply to progress the main story (since victories often felt random otherwise). As implied before, I do actually secretly try to play Senran Kagura games for their stories, or... rather I did at one point. Not because the stories themselves were particularly amazing in previous games but because their focus on character-development was handled better than you would expect. Deep Crimson's story, however, is essentially a rather pointless interlude between Burst and Shinovi Versus. It is a drawn out story arc around the newcomers Kagura and Naru, neither of the two being particularly interesting or do very much throughout. It also has far less exposition between fights, making most of them feel entirely unnecessary and unnecessarily frequent. If you want an idea of how pointless the narrative is for this title, roughly 1/5 of the main story takes place in a hot spring. To continue my disappoint with the title, the soundtrack isn't nearly as good as the previous two games (let's pretend Bon Appetit doe not exist when I say that.). It is not bad per say, but nowhere near as rhythmically interesting, or varied overall. A lot of the musical themes feel like half-step remixes of previous releases than anything else. Of course, it would be disingenuous to not talk about the visuals too, which actually have seen a huge step up from its previous 3DS showing. Exaggerated bouncing physics and exploding costumes aside, there is a striking fluidity to the presentation in general. The surprisingly flashy cutscene cinematics makes this most apparent whereas previous games were generally carried by visual novel-esque scenes and little else. The 3DS's 3D toggle may be next to useless during actual gameplay (since it throws off depth perception) but otherwise in-motion Deep Crimson may very well be one of the better looking titles on the small handheld screen. Though Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson boasts the first true sequel moniker to the series, it unfortunately feels like an unnecessary interlude as a whole. It sacrifices pretty much every aspect that caused the series to subvert expectations, which primarily was the better-than-you'd-expect character-driven story mode, in conjunction to adding newfound frustrations with its many balance issues for basic combat. For just about everything except for the improved visuals, Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson has little in its own defense for being as shallow as it may appear. Pros: + Fairly smooth cutscene and combat animations + Absurd amount of outfit and accessory options + More combat variety from tag-team mechanics to actual enemies Cons: -Terrible camera - Very poorly balanced combat - Actual narrative is significantly less interesting than previous games - Awful ally AI Overall Score: 5 (out of 10) Average Though it is a better-looking title than its predecessors Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson embraces none of which caused the series to subvert expectations, leading to an unfortunate mess of a sequel Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable 3DS code provided by the publisher.
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    From the album: Chaos Code

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    From the album: Chaos Code

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    From the album: Chaos Code

  6. Update: And just like they quietly reversed course on montezation rules for YouTube, Nintendo has gone ahead and allowed EVO to run the stream as initially intended. One has to wonder why they even are letting their legal team do these moves if they are just going to change them back so soon after. The original news story is as follows. Fighting fans out there are all aware of EVO. This yearly tournament pits the best players against each other in a wide variety of fighting games which they excel in. This year's convention had hosted a breast cancer donation drive to get Super Smash Bros. Melee as part of the official EVO livestream. Unfortunately, this great idea was for naught. Nintendo was apparently not alerted to this prior and has since spoken to EVO and said they do not have permission to air gameplay for the GameCube favorite. Instead, EVO officials have switched the game out for King of Fighters XIII and Persona 4 Arena. Nintendo recently had made a change to policy which required YouTube content featuring Nintendo products to direct revenue to Nintendo. Although that rule has seemingly since been reversed, it looks like they still are going to exercise control over their properties in the digital realm. What games are you looking forward to seeing streamed during EVO 2013?
  7. Developer: Team Ninja Publisher: Tecmo Koei Platform: PS Vita Release Date: March, 19 2013 ESRB: M for Mature Over the years, Dead or Alive as a series has become more known for its pandering than its fighting game roots. From loosely garbed women, imaginative physics, and sexualized volleyball spin-offs, it is little surprise how that label came about. However, prior to Dead or Alive 5's release, the newest installment was actually built up to be a less exploitative and a much more serious fighter, though one quick look at the game“s DLC will prove just how well that concept went over. Still, Team Ninja seems to have taken the most recent entry with an earnest effort toward a new direction as a fighter. With plenty of mechanical changes and some notable shifts in art direction from its predecessors, Dead or Alive 5 hardly comes off as a shoehorned effort. Less than a year later, it makes its way to the smaller screened device sporting new features with Dead or Alive 5 Plus on Vita. Among the fighting game community, Dead or Alive has always been viewed as a sort of 'casual' fighter; serving as the sort of less intimidating middle ground between Virtua Fighter and Tekken gameplay-wise, with DOA leaning to the Virtua Fighter side more so. Admittedly, with only two buttons designated for general attacks in DOA5 and its current tournament presence, that isn“t likely to change. Still, it would be very unfair to belittle the various additions and changes it has done with the series with DOA5+. The game harbors a solid amount of depth and various different playable characters, which, in addition to the game's well-done tutorials, certainly help accentuate these strengths. Dead or Alive 5 Plus's combat is fast-paced and fluid. Attack moves interchange between each other rather smoothly, making the overall game very mix-up heavy, asking players to not get too comfy with their punches, kicks, and grabs so they constantly change it up to overwhelm the opponent. It also does a solid job rewarding defensive play, encouraging players to capitalize on various counters for increased damage or extended combos to punish those more predictable opponents. There are a few more novelty mechanics that players can indulge in with more cinematic, stylized attacks that knock the enemies about the environments, which are executed by hitting the foe into a critical state before landing a specialized power hit. Even these flashy terrain attacks can be defended against, so the one being attacked can still shift the unfavorable momentum of battle with good reads. Overall, I find DOA5 to be refreshing mechanically as a fighter, especially in contrast to the mostly stagnant previous entries. Unlike the console release of the game, the story mode for DOA5+ is no longer a trial by fire tutorial/challenge mode, both of which get much more fleshed out individualized modes. I personally find that very relieving as it felt awkwardly implemented on the original console versions. The actual story however really teeters on the line between intentionally hokey and cringingly awful, falling back towards the latter more often than not. This is unfortunate, since the perspective switching narrative and varying timelines could“ve made for some solid intrigue. Regardless, It is likely that you“ll probably find yourself wondering if the trophy you get for not skipping any cutscene is really worth it or if it is maybe better to play something like arcade mode instead. Still, the positive thing is that the story mode isn“t very long, being less than a few hours total. The negative is, well, everything else about it. Tutorials are really well done in the game and feature four separate variations: free training, tutorial, command training, and combo challenge modes. The "Tutorial" mode does a great job teaching you by quite literally breaking down every mechanic of the game into bite-sized pieces, from basic movement and attacks to learning how to capitalize on counters. "Command training" helps players learn character specific attacks and stances, and lastly, "Combo challenge" is, of course, focused on learning and executing combos. Team Ninja really deserves a pat on the back for these and I would love to see more fighters even come close to how comprehensive the tutorials are for DOA5+. Fighting games on a base level tend to be rather intimidating and often times require external knowledge from their collaborative communities, which I don“t think is the case for this one. Aside from the tutorials and story modes, there are also the more traditional survival, arcade, and online versus modes as well as some tag team alterations. For online, I did have very poor luck finding matches, which is sad because this game features cross play/saves on both PS3 and Vita, that and it is a good game. In any case, the netcode was great from what I saw and seemed better than what I experienced on the consoles oddly enough. That said, the Vita version notably lacks lobbies of any sort unlike the console version, which can mean a lot for the life of an online fighter. Without lobbies, there are only really 3 modes: ranked, simple match (which seems like a quick-match for most fighters), and online dojo (practice mode with a human player). DOA5+ also supports local ad-hoc which I personally was unable to try out. A less noteworthy addition specific to DOA5+ is a new mode called "Touch fighter”. This new mode allows players to tilt the Vita screen vertically and horizontally based on preference, and fight in 1 vs 1 battles by executing attack commands through streamlined finger swipes and presses. It is novel in concept, regardless on my personal feelings on the lackluster execution, but it is very detached from any other facet of the game. Without so much as multiplayer functionality or use in the more standard modes like arcade, Touch Fighter just seems kind of like a pointless addition for anything beyond a short-lived novelty. After having a recent taste of the Ninja Gaiden Sigma ports on the Vita, I was rather skeptical how well DOA5+ would be treated. Thankfully, Team Ninja really paid the game a lot of respect on the handheld and more than proved me wrong. The character models do a great job at emulating their console counterparts, and as much as I don“t care for the story mode, the cutscenes also look really good on a technical level; even things like load times are remain fast throughout the game. Where the Vita port shows its more noticeable compromises is in the environments, with some areas looking a bit more stark in contrast to the console counterparts. Still, Tecmo Koei put their focus where it matters most technically with its gameplay. The framerate runs at a very consistent 60 frames per second and makes sure to never skips a beat, which means a ton for a 3D fighting game. DOA5 was a fairly solid looking game when it came to its visuals on consoles, and in the midst of playing this version, it can easily be indistinguishable on Vita. Dead or Alive 5 Plus makes for a very admirable and faithful port of its console brother, and easily the best example of a 3D fighter I've seen on a handheld. Of course, things like the story mode are rather painful to witness, and touch-screen mode is outright pointless, but I can hardly complain about either of those to any serious effect. It's a well-crafted game overall, and with its cleverly designed tutorials, solid fighting mechanics, polished presentation and music, it makes for a very welcome addition on the system. If you want an incredibly solid 3D fighter on the go, Dead or Alive 5 Plus would be my first recommendation for the system, and it makes for easily the best representation of the long running fighter's name. Pros: + Easy to learn fighting mechanics with a reasonable amount of depth + Visuals/animations in cutscenes and gameplay are great and remain very fluid throughout + Excellent Tutorials + Solid soundtrack Cons: + Awful story mode + No online lobbies... or online players + Touchscreen mode is pointless Overall Score: 8.0 (out of 10) Great A great fighter and excellent port for the Vita. An easy fighter to learn and get into with its very smart and comprehensive tutorials as well as sporting a solid amount of depth to its gameplay. DOA5+ makes for a very easy recommendation for newcomers to the series as well as veterans alike.
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