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Found 18 results

  1. Leah

    The Denpa Men 2 - Overworld

    From the album: Leah's Review Images

    © Genius Sonority Inc.

  2. Developer: Atlus Publisher: Atlus Platform: 3DS Release Date: April 16, 2013 ESRB: M for Mature With its focus towards mature storytelling and mythological themes, the Megami Tensei series, and especially its wealth of spin-offs, has been winning the hearts of many RPG fans in recent years. The more recent Megami Tensei (also abbreviated as Megaten or SMT) spin-off titles include the highly-regarded Persona 3/4 and even my personal favorite game of last year, Devil Survivor 2. For individuals like myself who like to revisit older titles, it is a relief to see Atlus finally bring over the 1997 Sega Saturn classic and Megaten spin-off, Soul Hackers, to the 3DS. Nintendo's 3D handheld is no stranger to first person dungeon-crawler RPGs, especially given Atlus's most recent critical-darling Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan or XSEED's and FuRyu's slightly more divisive Unchained Blades. Soul Hackers serves as another, albeit more old-school addition to 3DS's dungeon-crawler RPG library and is something of a cult classic among the more traditional SMT fans. With an unapologetic old-school approach to gameplay and a couple of new additions, it's remarkable how well its RPG code holds up nowadays. The game starts off in a cyber metropolis of Amami City where the player takes the role of a fellow member of the elite hacker group: The Spookies. Spooky, the group's leader, unveils a mysterious 'gun-type PC', or affectionately named GUMP, to the rest of the group which he came across unexpectedly. After dabbling with and experiencing several life threatening scenarios within "Paradigm X", a huge online virtual reality space, the main character somehow inadvertently finds out how to unlock and possibly use the GUMP. Of course, without knowing the consequences of what would happen by unlocking it, the GUMP releases a demon by the name of Nemissa. She decides to possess the main character's female friend, Hitomi, while trying to take over her body entirely, and in the process also somehow gives her a polarity-swapping hairstyle too. Despite the goofy sounding initial setup, the storytelling is a fair bit more fleshed-out compared to other old-school SMT titles, even if that isn't saying too much. It also focuses on its characters more than traditional SMT games, though nowhere near the scale of certain spin-offs like Persona 3 and 4. Still, the members of Spookies, colorful villain figures, and the eccentric Nemissa will certainly leave an impression as the narrative plays out. Admittedly, Soul Hackers' setting and ideology will definitely seem like a somewhat campy take on Sci-Fi nowadays due to its late '90s approach to cyberpunk with a Megaten mythology quirk. However, the game definitely has a certain unusual charm to its setting and intrigue in its darker moments when it emphasizes the negative edge of modern day technology and escapism. As a whole, despite being noticeably dated for its setting, the storytelling still manages to be interesting even now. In traditional old school SMT flair, traversal is divided between a simple overworld map and individual areas, like dungeons or towns, in the first person perspective. I admit, I'm not usually enamored by dungeon-crawlers or their modern throwback incantations. That said, after plenty of lengthy play sessions, I was able to understand the addictive qualities that come with these sorts of titles. Also, unlike my experience with the original Persona, Soul Hackers has aged rather well if you can get past its dated presentation. In terms of challenge, the title is nowhere near as intimidating as the DS' SMT title, Strange Journey, with conveniences in the form of GUMP installs (making negotiations, demon fusions, and traversing dungeons in general easier) or the 3DS specific 'hacks' which enable the ability to manipulate the base difficulty in various ways. There are also useful mapping features to help navigate dungeons and a nifty Streetpass feature to get new demons. Still, Soul Hackers is certainly a challenging game by today's standards, and like most dungeon-crawlers there is a certain level of grinding required. SMT trademarks, like demon negotiations and demon fusion, help solidify the structure of the game's core. Demon negotiations have the players attempt to coerce demons into joining the party or giving them items. These conversations can oftentimes be pretty entertaining due to their various humorous quips, even if they can feel rather random at times in their responses. Also, it wouldn't be a SMT title without some variation of demon fusion, where players can combine two or more demons to get new and oftentimes more powerful ones. Fusion is still an engaging system despite how Soul Hackers utilizes a fifteen years less refined version of it, and is a bit more limited than more modern SMT titles when it comes to transferring skills. If there are parts I don't think that hold up at all nowadays, it is in regards to the demon loyalty as well as the MAG mechanic. Demons have certain personality traits when they join their party. If you don't cater to these personality traits, in giving them specific orders, or none at all, they run the risk of never following directions or leaving the party for good. This certainly can be rather annoying in difficult battles, like bosses, if they aren't willing to do commands you want to specifically assign. Also making a return is the restrictive demon summoning mechanic of MAG, or Magnetite, which fans of Shin Megami Tensei 1/2 or Strange Journey should recognize. MAG is required to summon demons and it depletes depending on how many you have summoned at one time, as well as each step you take in a dungeon. If you don't have any MAG, you can't summon demons as allies, and demons get hurt each step you take without it. This brings the player to two early conclusions: fight every battle to barely cover the cost, or have a smaller party to minimize it. For a genre that is ingrained in difficulty and the ability to easily get lost in similar looking corridors, I find MAG to be poorly implemented and needlessly annoying to deal with by today's standards. However, I do somewhat understand its place in this game in particular, since you can exchange MAG for money, but that doesn't make it any less restrictive. When it comes to visual design, Soul Hackers is undeniably dated. It's understandable for a fifteen year old dungeon-crawler, and in some ways adds to its charm, but it is something to point out nonetheless. Though, surprisingly, because of the simple visual nature of the game, I find it to be one of the few games on 3DS I don't mind playing in 3D. On the audio side, there is a surprising amount of voice work in the main story, and most of the voice actors do a solid delivery throughout. To somewhat contrast the solid voice work, the soundtrack is not so great. It's certainly not bad, but out of Shoji Meguro's older works, it definitely does not stack up. Most of the tracks, aside from certain hub themes I like, are forgettable synthesized pieces. Overall, Soul Hackers holds up rather well today for a fifteen-year-old dungeon-crawler. The setting and characters have their intrigue, and dungeon-crawling as well as demon fusion can be engaging. However, it's hard to not think of the possible advancements to the game's design, despite having some newer conveniences ironed out for the 3DS specifically, since there are some annoyances. The demon loyalty and MAG mechanics are annoying to deal with, and its presentation certainly doesn't stand up particularly well with modern games. Still, for those who don't mind an old-school approach to RPGs, Soul Hackers is mostly enjoyable where it counts, and is a real, classic gem among the dungeon-crawling genre. Pros: + Interesting storytelling and characters + Engaging dungeon-crawling and demon fusion + Appreciated 3DS interface and difficulty conveniences + Solid voice acting Cons: - Fairly dated presentation - Restrictive MAG and demon loyalty mechanics - So-so soundtrack Overall Score: 7.0 (out of 10) Good For those who don't mind some old-school dungeon-crawling RPG flair, Soul Hackers is a charming throwback and a gem for its time.
  3. Developer: Genius Sonority Inc. Publisher: Genius Sonority Inc. Platform: 3DS eShop Release Date: May 30, 2012 ESRB: E for Everyone A download code was provided by the publisher for this review What the heck is a Denpa Man? Well, if you never played the original last year, then I“ll fill you in. Denpa Men are little dudes that inhabit the “radio waves†around you. In THE “DENPA†MEN 2 Beyond the Waves, you“re able to catch them and go on an adventure with them. It“s a much more exciting and improved adventure over the first as well. The focus of The Denpa Men 2 is to rescue your family that has been taken hostage. The only way to do that is to travel the land in search of them with a team of strong, trusty Denpa Men! So you know that they“re floating around you, but how do you catch them? With the 3DS camera, of course. When you make your way to the Antenna Tower in Digitown, you“ll enter the Denpa Men catching mode. With your 3DS“s camera on, you must move your 3DS around to see the Denpa Men floating around. Make sure one is not noticing you and simply catch it with the A button. If you want a wide variety of Denpa Men, then it“s time to get out of your room and visit different places. Go to your friend“s house or a restaurant – the “radio waves†(Wi-Fi signals) there harbor completely different Denpa Men. So, now you have some new friends and you“re ready to kick some butt. It“s time to leave Digitown and enter a whole new world! The Denpa Men 2 features a large overworld, various towns, and secret areas that are completely new to the series. For RPG fans, it“s a much needed and appreciated addition that adds a lot of depth to what the previous game lacked. There are also a few other tiny things added to The Denpa Men 2 that are fun and cute. Fishing and growing plants are two features that are entertaining, and also help your Denpa Men out in the long run. Online battles also make their appearance, in which you can fight other players“ Denpa Men teams for medals. Exchange your hard-earned medals for prizes! And then there“s the “Street Lamp.†StreetPasses exchanged with other The Denpa Men 2 players power it, and the more StreetPasses you have, the longer you can explore special dungeons. Battling has remained mostly the same for The Denpa Men 2. It“s a typical RPG affair where you must strategize your attacks and abilities, as well as keeping certain colored Denpa Men in your team. Despite its innocent appearance, The Denpa Men 2 can be very difficult, especially if you don“t have a Denpa Men with certain colors or abilities. Your little guys may die often, but thankfully it“s a lot cheaper to resurrect them in here than in the previous game. As soon as The Denpa Men 2“s title theme played, I knew I was in for a treat. This is a lovingly crafted dungeon-crawler for the 3DS, and deserves to be played by anyone that enjoys playing RPGs. Check it out and make some new Denpa friends! Pros: + Bunch of features and a lengthy main quest offers a lot of bang for your buck + Catching Denpa Men is a unique and fun element + Great music, graphics, and humor Cons: - Might be too unfair/difficult for some - Grinding, grinding, and more grinding Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great The Denpa Men 2 is something different and eccentric that“s sure to relieve that dungeon-crawler itch.
  4. From the album: Leah's Review Images

    © Genius Sonority Inc.

  5. Leah

    The Denpa Men 2 - Battle

    From the album: Leah's Review Images

    © Genius Sonority Inc.

  6. Developer: Spike Chunsoft Publisher: Nintendo Platform: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: March 24, 2013 ESRB: E for Everyone Pokémon is one of the most popular gaming series in the world, and it also has a ton of spin-offs; the more popular of which include Pokémon Snap and the Pokémon Stadium games. Then there“s the slightly more recent Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. These roguelikes offer a deeper look into the lives of Pokémon on top of their randomized dungeon-crawling gameplay. With Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, the spin-off series not only continues but also jumps into the world of 3D. How does it fare as a game and Pokémon title? As with every other Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game, you play as a human that is turned into a Pokémon and brought to their world – a world where humans are myth. You“re brought into the Pokémon world for a specific reason, though that“s not revealed until later on in the game. In any case, most of what goes on in Gates to Infinity involves going out on adventures and helping build you and your partner“s “Paradise.†I“ll go into what Paradise is and how it works later. The story in Gates to Infinity is a lot more complex than what you“ll find in the main Pokémon games. It can even get pretty emotional and dark at times (one moment in particular shocked me quite a bit). Sure, it can be very predictable, especially if you“ve played a Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game before. I really enjoyed Gates to Infinity“s story, though. It was very heartfelt and the ending almost made me cry. As for the gameplay, which is pretty vital for a dungeon-crawler, it“s addicting but could be a lot better. You go through randomized dungeons, battle enemies with a team of up to four Pokémon, recruit new teammates, and complete your objective. Some features from previous Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games have been changed or omitted, such as hunger. This added more challenge and strategizing, so some dedicated fans of the series may be disappointed at the removal. My biggest issue, however, was the AI of your partners. Most of the time, they are downright stupid. They“ll use certain attacks or support skills at the wrong time, and even wander off for no reason. Another thing that fans might be upset about is the lack of selection when you“re choosing your playable character, and the drop in the amount of recruitable Pokémon. In previous Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, you were able to choose from starters from every generation (and then some) and almost every currently known Pokémon at that time was recruitable. In the last Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game, that was a whopping 491 recruitable Pokémon. In Gates to Infinity, you“re restricted to choosing from Unova“s starters as well as Axew and Pikachu, and the amount of recruitable Pokémon has plummeted to under 140. The reasons for this are unknown – it could be due to memory restraints or the immense effort it would take to render and animate every single Pokémon in 3D. The other parts of Gates to Infinity are more enjoyable. One of the biggest is the construction of Paradise. In it, you“re able to build shops, minigames, dojos, and berry and seed fields anywhere you please. Not only that, but you“re also able to choose from different environments for a plot of land and color your projects. Paradise adds a great deal of customization to the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, and I hope features like this are kept in future games. Companion Mode also offers a much-needed break from the main game. It allows you to take control of any one of your other Pokémon and complete requests. You“re also able to build in customize in Paradise in this mode. In any case, it“s a real treat to play as my favorite Pokémon, Archen! Then there“s the new Magnagate mode. This is where the 3DS“s AR functionality comes in. When the 3DS recognizes a round/circular object, a “Magnagate†opens. The dungeon, objective, and Pokémon team that results from this Magnagate is completely random, thus giving you an infinite number of adventures to explore. Enough of all that gameplay stuff! As mentioned previously, Gates to Infinity is the first Pokémon Mystery Dungeon title to be in 3D. You may miss the pixels of the previous games, but I think the bright, beautiful graphics of Gates to Infinity will satisfy you just as much. The animation is also impeccable and amazing. There are plenty of awe-inspiring moments in Gates to Infinity that will make your jaw drop. All of this comes together in a rather big package. Just completing the main storyline alone will take you a good 20-30 hours or so. On top of that, you have the construction and perfection of your Paradise, recruiting all the available Pokémon, the post-game story, mini-games, Magnagate mode, and DLC dungeons. I say that“s a rather hefty amount of content that“ll certainly keep you busy! For all Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity does right, it still isn't going to scratch the itch that most standard Pokémon games do. Its repetitive nature will put off many, and its removal of features from previous games will turn fans away. Then, of course, there are issues like the incompetent AI. Gates to Infinity has a lot to offer, though, and I think it deserves a fair chance. I spent a lot of time with it and loved it. So, give it a shot if you“re a hardcore Pokémon fan! You just might like it, too. Pros + Plenty of features that offer hours of gameplay + Beautiful graphics and animation Cons - Player character selection is limited and there are under 140 recruitable Pokémon - AI teammates are dumb as bricks Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity probably won“t appeal to many fans of the series. If you really enjoy dungeon-crawlers, however, I definitely recommend giving this title a chance.
  7. Developer: Genius Sonority Inc. Publisher: Genius Sonority Inc. Platform: 3DS eShop Release Date: September 27, 2012 ESRB: E for Everyone Did you know that there are little men floating among the radio waves around you? It“s true. Even though they“re invisible to the naked eye, they“re everywhere. These little guys are called Denpa Men, and THE “DENPA†MEN: They Came By Wave offers you the chance to form a team of them, explore dungeons, and rescue someone that has been captured by the King of Evil. The concept is probably one of the oddest I“ve seen for a game (especially with ), but The Denpa Men“s eccentricity is exactly what I love so much about it. The Denpa Men is a dungeon-crawler RPG that almost feels a bit like a Dragon Quest game. It“s not incredibly complex for a dungeon-crawler by any means, but it“s definitely solid and plenty of fun. And for the newbies out there that still may be intimidated by the fact that The Denpa Men IS a dungeon-crawler – worry not! The game is a great starting point due to helpful features such as auto-attack. One of the best parts of The Denpa Men (and its selling point) is the ability to catch Denpa Men using the 3DS“s camera. The wee folk hang around “radio waves†(Wi-Fi signals, rather), and each radio wave territory has its own unique Denpa Men. That means you“ll want to leave your room and house to try catching different Denpa Men in various places! Try out areas that you know are abundant with strong Wi-Fi signals. There is also a very good reason you“ll want to visit numerous places. Throughout the game, it“s of utmost importance to have Denpa Men with specific abilities or resistances at your disposal. It takes a while for new Denpa Men to show up in the same territory (which is probably your desk or bed), so it“s crucial to go out and about and hunt down some good Denpa Men. You may even find a special one with very high capabilities that will be a powerful asset in battle! Needless to say, the Denpa Man-catching portion of the game is way too fun and a game within itself. Denpa Men themselves are just too adorable and you“ll quickly become attached to your little guys. You“re even able to dress them up in different patterns—which help with their stats and weaknesses, too! Don“t worry about your Denpa Men holding down the fort back at the house, either. They“ll also gain experience while you“re out prowling around in a dungeon so that they“re fighting fit when it“s their turn for battle. Unfortunately, your little Denpa Men can die. They“re not gone for good, though! You can either revive them through the Spirit Shrine or try to re-catch them in the territory that they originally came from. The Spirit Shrine can cost a pretty penny, so you may opt for re-catching them. Trekking back to that Denpa Man“s original territory may be an impossibility, however, so that“s a bit of an annoyance. As you“ve no doubt noticed my gushing over how cute Denpa Men are, the art style for this game is quirky, adorable, and great. I really love the bright, bold colors used throughout The Denpa Men. And you“ll never tire of the limitless possibilities of Denpa Men you“ll come across (some of their faces can be super amusing). The monsters and music don“t seem to receive this same treatment, though, and could use a bit more variation. As a dungeon-crawler, The Denpa Men is definitely a game meant for those who won“t get bored from doing the same thing over and over again. Regardless, due to its unique charm, it will no doubt reel in some who are hesitant and keep them hooked. This game is a wonderful example of some of the different stuff I“d love to see in the game market, and I“d love it even more to see a full-fledged Denpa Men game in the future. Pros: + Catching Denpa Men through your 3DS“s camera is fun and great concept + The combination of Denpa Men“s appearance, abilities, stats, and so on are endless. Plus, they“re super cute. + Game can be challenging or easy, depending on how you want to play. Caters to both newbies and veterans to dungeon-crawler RPGs! Cons: - Dungeon-crawling and battling might be tedious and repetitive to some - Monsters and music could use some more variation Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great This quirky little gem is a must-have from the 3DS eShop. Those who enjoy dungeon-crawlers will have a blast catching Denpa Men and employing them in battle.