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Found 155 results

  1. Developer: Aquria Publisher: Atlus USA Platform: PS Vita Release Date: May 2, 2017 ESRB: T for Teen It has been only one month since the release of Persona 5 and Atlus USA is already eager to publish another role-playing game full of traumatized high schoolers. The Vita exclusive RPG: The Caligula Effect is a bit different than the countless knockoffs of Atlus's flagship series, however. For one, it actually has the writer behind the first three Persona games behind it (Persona, Persona 2: Innocent Sin & Persona 2: Eternal Punishment), Tadashi Satomi, which should imply a more bleak tone to storytelling akin to older Shin Megami Tensei games, so that immediately piqued my interest it. I think it would have been warranted too if what narrative potential it has was not squandered in the mobius loop of disappointment with the gameplay's pacing. The intro to The Caligula Effect feels rather distorted, with some of it being intentional. Something along the lines that the mostly mute main character learns that he's trapped in what was supposed to be a digital utopia called "Mobius". Of course, something is not quite right with the digital world which causes the lead to accidently get magical powers based on unstable human psyche (NOT-Persona), and meeting like-minded individuals of the "Go-Home" club who want to Go H-- um, return to reality. So, the lead, and his eventual and slightly crazy posse, decide to confront the famous digital idol "Mu" (Technically "μ"), whom (partially) created Mobius, about their desire to escape from it. The premise made more sense in my head. The early portions in The Caligula Effect feels like an bigger mess of systems it does not really know what to do with. There are functions like being able to recruit over five hundred party members from random 'classmates' wandering dungeons, text messaging system called "Wire", and a nightmare of an ability tree called the "Causality Link" if you earn friendship points with the five hundred non-main story party members. However, most just feels superfluous in the monotonous dungeon crawler grind that is the overall experience that I avoided dabbling with it entirely except for when I was forced to in the main story. The bulk of the experience (about 80%, I'd wager) is primarily within its clumsy dungeon design and repetitive combat system. It is all the more unappealing to behold when it is presented so ruggedly with a choppy frame rate (battles primarily), messy animations, long load times between the lifeless environments, and the like. Before I get too critical, however, the most promising of the two main gameplay facets is the combat system. Battles are kind of like a weird hybrid between turn-based with real time elements (think Final Fantasy IX's ATB system), a juggling based combo system, and random MMO styled cooldowns tossed in. There are bit and pieces of the combat system that truly I like. For one, before inputting any action you see a sort of general playback of how both enemies and allies will react if you do it in the small time frame it is playing (...assuming the attack doesn't miss, or the character gets interrupted by the geometry). I also like that you can get pretty granular to potentially optimize combos or perfectly time a guard break/counter skill, which is neat. ...Until the repetition sets in, which is very quick. The Caligula Effect really does not reward creativity in combat -- just efficiency (even that being debatable). The enemies that would survive long enough to weave fancy party combos around them you frankly should not be fighting. It is often best to have a bread & butter combo of using your most powerful skills at the offset so you can get the experience bonus and save time. If enemies don't die from that initial barrage the pacing slows down quite a lot. Early in I would try to fight foes several levels higher and... that's a bad idea. Basically, the player's stat disadvantage against foes a few levels or higher gets pretty huge, to the point where allies will even miss more than half of their attacks in addition to paltry damage, and the game just kind of throws such overpowered foes around every other corner despite the player not needing to be that high complete the dungeon. Oh, and if the main character dies it's an instant game over. You can imagine how pleased I was to learn that after being in a single battle for over thirty minutes, try to extrapolate what combat depth I could, and randomly getting one-shotted. Now, admittedly, the main reason I put up with the frustrating gameplay was to witness the sporadic storytelling and listen to more of the soundtrack, which I would say it is more intriguing than it is actually good. Well, okay, the music is actually quite good despite its J-pop styled flair. Though not quite as masterful, it does a similarly neat trick as something like Nier Automata where the audio will dynamically shift based on whether you are in combat, waltzing around the obnoxious dungeons, or facing the main boss of the level. That said, as good as the dungeon/battle tracks are, you can only be entertained by the short music loops in such lengthy, and often more than several hours, treks through dungeons for so long. Each of the main story dungeons felt like they gave me just one more reason to dislike the title with its shameless backtracking to trigger scripted events, countless copy & pasted corridors, and mashing the X button to talk to, or recruit, for one reason or another. As for the main storytelling in The Caligula Effect, it is intriguing, but hardly paced well because of the game's design. Despite the setup that easily paints the Go-Home club as the good guys, one of the more curious aspects about the storytelling is that the members that follow you around are actually deeply flawed individuals, to the point of being quite unlikable at times (even if a few are somewhat redeemed in their optional character events, I think), that becomes much apparent each new dungeon. This is where "The Caligula Effect" name pretty directly comes into play because it touches upon various taboos. And it does not really shy away from uncomfortable subject matters like various forms of depression or a desire for escapism. Still, for as much as it drummed up my curiosity, the dark storytelling overall is simply not good enough to really warrant a playthrough because of all of the frustrations around the entire experience (despite not being all that long for RPG standards). The Caligula Effect is a real strange case study where I was quite intrigued to see what it'd have to offer going forward but every time I picked it up I could not have been more eager to stop playing because of the actual gameplay. I know Aquiria is capable of making of making decent games after playing Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization not too long ago (despite how much I hate the source material.) but The Caligula Effect is a gameplay-oppressive mess despite its good intentions. I suppose I was not too unlike the main characters in the story where I was saw promise of a digital utopia and ended up in a nightmare that I, and others as well, should desperately try and escape from instead. Pros + Some intriguing, darker themes that are brought up with each character's arc + Great soundtrack that dynamically transitions from vocals to instrumental compositions mid-gameplay + Being able to see how combat skills are likely to play out in advance before inputting them to is a nice touch + I like the character portraits? Cons - Obnoxious, lifeless dungeon design that makes a big habit of backtracking and fetch quests - Combat system is incredibly repetitive even with over 500 playable characters - Several inconsequential gameplay systems that next to nothing overall aside from another number value to grind - Long load times and choppy framerate throughout - Main character KO = immediate Game Over to title screen - Several main party members remain quite unlikable despite some intended moments of redemption, which can be offputting Overall Score: 4 (out of 10) Below Average For as much morbid curiosity as I bore towards the grim storytelling The Caligula Effect excels at so little as an actual game to really be worth breaking the taboo of actually playing it. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Vita code provided by the publisher.
  2. More streaming, more #DotHackMUTATION #speedrun attempts, and more morphin' into action! Come swing by and have an amazing night. ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  3. Another early stream today! Come swing by and hang out as I try and improve my times in #DotHackMUTATION #speedrun attempts! It's gonna be a morphenomenal time. ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  4. Another day off from work means another long stream! Let's start the day off with some #speedrun record attempts at #DotHackMUTATION. Later I'll continue my first ever playthrough of #FinalFantasy7! Be sure so swing by and bring the ranger hype! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  5. Surprise long stream! Starting off the day with some more #speedrun attempts in #DotHackMUTATION, then later continuing my first playthrough of #FinalFantasy7. Come swing by the #Twitch stream and hang out, it's gonna be a morphenomenal day. ROYZAYBOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  6. It's Friday! Come hang out on the #Twitch stream and catch more of my first playthrough of #FinalFantasy7! It's gonna be a morphenomenal night, oh yeah. ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  7. Another night of #DotHackMUTATION #speedrun attempts and routing is here! Come swing by the stream and have a morphenomenal night! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  8. Come hang out and join me with another night of #DotHackMUTATION #Speedrun routing and practice! It's gonna be a morphenomenal night! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  9. Let's go for more routing and #speedrun practice for #DotHackMUTATION! Come swing by the stream, and don't forget to bring the Green Ranger Hype! It's #NationalPowerRangersDay so come have a #Morphenomenal night! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  10. Another night of speedrunning?! Heck yeah! Come swing by the #Twitch stream and hang out while I do some routing, planning, and practice for #DotHackMUTATION! It's gonna be a morphenomenal night. ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  11. Tonight I'm starting #FinalFantasy7 for the first time! Come swing by the #Twitch stream and have a morphenomenal night as I play through one of the most highly regarded JRPG's ever! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  12. Time to finish up #KingdomHeartsBirthbySleep and with Aqua's story the only one left, I've apparently saved the best for last! Come swing by the #Twitch stream and have a morphenomenal night! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  13. Time for another night of #DotHackINFECTION #Speedrun attempts! Come swing by and have a morphenomenal time on my #Twitch stream. ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  14. Another lazy day Sunday! Let's spend it playing some more #KingdomHeartsBirthbySleep! Come swing by and join me on my first playthrough, we're going through Terra and later Aqua today! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  15. Time for another #KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep stream! Come swing by the #Twitch stream and join me on my first playthrough where I get confused by plot and lore and forget everything. ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  16. Let's keep pushing it! Come hang out for another night of #DotHackINFECTION #Speedrun attempts on #Twitch. It's gonna be a morphenomenal night! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  17. Let's keep going for some personal bests in more #DotHackINFECTION #Speedrun attempts tonight. Swing by the #Twitch stream and have a morphenomenal time! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  18. First two days of the new job done! Let's celebrate with a #Twitch stream! Come swing by and hang out, watch some more #Speedrun attempts for #DotHackINFECTION. It's gonna be a morphenomenal night! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  19. Bit of an early stream today! Come swing by and watch some more #DotHackINFECTION #Speedrun attempts! It's going to be a morphenomenal time! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  20. Developer: Sega/Media Vision Publisher: Sega Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC Release Date: July 10, 2018 ESRB: T for Teen Note: This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game The phrase "Shining" holds a very different connotation in the gaming space depending on who you ask. Ask an old school RPG fan what it means to them and they would likely mention its previous, tactical role-playing game form of the beloved Shining Force titles. If you were to ask developer Sega themselves, they would likely phrase it in a way that could be just about anything resembling an RPG, especially given the many games they have churned out under its banner. That said, the Shining series has most often shifted toward a more typical action-RPG template in Japan these past couple decades. Though it may be an enhanced release of a formerly Japanese-exclusive PlayStation 3 title, Shining Resonance Refrain should radiate as a curious new direction for the series after a long absence from English speakers specifically. Above nearly all else, Shining Resonance Refrain takes a keen interest in both dragons and music while very rarely separating either element. Everything from the usage of musical armaments (...called "Armonics") to the main character, Yuma, who bears the latent power of a powerful dragon, play pivotal roles in the overarching narrative. That said, ultimately, the story itself rarely boils down to being more than a handful of good guys fighting against an evil empire despite however much jargon it tries to throw at the player like "Diva Magica" or many phrases straight out of Norse mythology. The main story remains predictable to a fault and can be rather hokey in more than a few instances because of it. Gameplay-wise, Shining Resonance: Refrain takes more than a few notes from its action-RPG contemporaries (such as Namco's Tales of- series) but with a couple of minor twists. You have your real-time combat system in which normal attacks use a stamina gauge and it quickly becomes encouraged to use special MP skills right before one runs out of stamina to maintain a constant offense. To not so subtlety chime a reminder of the musical setup, there is also a BPM gauge that steadily builds up mid-battle which will provide a variety of buffs upon use depending on the song. Admittedly, battles are rather button-mashy, and quickly become routine, but are also easy to get into. The game also does a decent job at making each party member feel unique, such as the ranged grenadier, Marion, who can use support spells, and even the main character, Yuma, who quickly goes from using a standard longsword to transforming into the Shining Dragon mid-battle. There are more than a few battle system foibles than the simplicity of it, however. Some are amusing like the main character becoming overpowered to the point of trivializing most other attackers by literally only needing to mash the circle button from the halfway point and on. Less amusing, however, are the frequent slowdown for flashier spells and, what can be even more annoying, the sleepy ally AI especially in regards to healing/suicidal positioning. Unlike the frequent slowdown hiccups, thankfully some of the AI problems can get straightened out over time if one messes with 'traits' within the Bond Diagram mechanic, which affects AI tendencies like their increased inclination towards using healing or buffs/debuffs mid-fight. In sharp contrast to their unreliable combat usage, one of the surprising strengths of Shining Resonance Refrain's main playable cast is their likability in a story context. One the most obvious ways to see this is within the primary town, which features numerous interpersonal scenes as well as the opportunity to go on dates with party members (yes, guys included). It is clear that these affinity systems were mostly developed with the pretty lady characters in mind but the actual implementation comes across as far more wholesome than one would expect. In addition, there is a pretty earnest friendship that develops between everyone, and not just Yuma despite, well, the story having more than a few over-the-top anime antics moments in-between. Perhaps the biggest problem with the entire game (yes, even more than the very cliched main story) are the huge discrepancies caused by the level-up progression. Main story bosses spike in level at an absurd rate each chapter, and the means of gaining the experience to close the gap in a reasonable amount of time is quite limited. I had to go out of my way to look into items that made it so inactive party members would gain experience, and to increase the rate of seeing the in-game equivalent to Dragon Quest's Metal Slimes (called eggs) in specific, randomly generated Grimoire dungeons, because the experience obtained from normal enemies in regular environments was way too low (... just like in Dragon Quest). In spite of such glaring gameplay flaws, Shining Resonance Refrain still somehow manages to be better than the sum of its parts in charm alone. One of the key ways it does is in the sharp localization which makes an often predictable script somehow still entertaining to read, especially regarding character specific scenes in the central town. The underlying care also transfers to the audio, like how the instrumentation of BPM songs will change based on which character performs it; a nice touch to an already good soundtrack. Heck, even the English dub is solid as well, though I admit I gravitated towards the Japanese voices due to some top-notch talent and it having a more natural transition towards the Japanese-only vocal songs. Shining Resonance Resonance is one of those strange titles that is significantly flawed in both its gameplay progression and main storytelling yet manages to stumble onto the path of being enjoyable regardless. Its key flaws are quite difficult to ignore, especially if one has a low tolerance towards cliche storytelling (which it is dense with), and it requires a willingness to accept the genre stereotypes it so frequently leans on to see a more sincere, lighthearted underside. If one wants an easy to approach action-RPG that is as charming as it is predictable, Shining Resonance Refrain is a solid option. But those expecting anything deeper in their RPG experience would be much better served looking elsewhere than it. Pros + Easy to approach combat system that manages to make each playable character feel distinct + Likable main cast of characters with surprisingly wholesome vibe between them + Pleasant aesthetic from the sharp soundtrack to well-realized character models Cons - Very predictable storytelling that can be quite hokey with its anime tropes - Balancing party experience becomes cumbersome due to huge enemy level spikes between each main story chapter -Occasional slowdown and dumb ally AI unfortunately bog down combat - A bit too much backtracking between zones Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Shining Resonance Refrain does very little to veer from the course of many Japanese RPG stereotypes but for those willing to accept its often predictable nature can still find an earnest hidden charm underneath it all Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS4 code provided by the publisher.
  21. #DotHackInfection #Speedruns continue tonight. Come swing by and have a morphenomenal time! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  22. Another night of #DotHackInfection #speedrun attempts, let's go! Come swing by the #Twitch stream and have a morphenomenal night! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  23. Another night of #dothackINFECTION #Speedrun attempts tonight! Come swing by the #Twitch stream and have a morphenomenal time! Oh, and sub badges are now live, so come check 'em out. ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  24. Time for more #dothackINFECTION #Speedrun learning and note taking! Come swing by the #Twitch stream and hang out, ask questions, and have a morphenomenal time! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  25. Time for another night of #DotHackInfection #speedrun learning and practice! Come check out the #Twitch stream, it's going to be a morphenomenal night! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
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