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Found 5 results

  1. WildCardCorsair

    Game of the Year 2016: Wildcard's Picks

    End of the year lists are fun for me, mostly because it allows me to reflect on the things I loved about video games during the whole year. Typing these out and remembering "Oh yeah, that really was a good game" is like a wonderful trip down gaming memory lane. One that you, dear readers, can take with me! I had less trouble than I thought picking my 10; in fact I had a few fight just to get on. I guess that makes 2016 a pretty good year (in gaming at least... sheesh!) and as excited as I was for many of the games on my list, I know 2017 is going to be just as good. Until then though, I had lots of releases to keep me busy, the best of which (in my opinion, at least) are below. So read and enjoy, or fight me, whatever! 10. Pokemon Sun/Moon I“ve had my share of criticisms of the seventh generation Pokemon games Sun and Moon but that doesn“t mean I don“t like them. For one, they finally gave me the thing I“ve always wanted: a slow and public death for HMs. Sun/Moon even gave me things I never knew I wanted, like island trials, which even on their worst day are still more fun than gym leaders. Trials even allowed for better characterization of the trainers of their island, which lent to an already more intimate Pokemon journey than we“ve had in a very long time. Even catching the same Pokemon for the unpteenth time was more fun with the addition of regional variants. At the end of the day this game may come in last on my list, but it doesn“t come in last in my heart, for what that“s worth! 9. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ~Welcome Amiibo~ What? Didn“t this game come out like 4 years ago? It might have, but right when I think I“m finally done with it the Welcome Amiibo update hits, bringing features, improvements, and content for days. Seriously. How is a guy supposed to move on? Entirely new villagers to invite, vast improvements to the ease of filling your town with the villagers you want most, a much needed expanded storage system, two new minigames that are tied to two of a slew of new furnishings, even the ease of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer“s interior designing UI are all now in the game you could have sworn you were done playing. The update is so hefty it really could have been called an expansion. I was already just shy of 400 hours, but I have no doubts I“ll hit the big four-oh-oh now. 8. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided It“s funny, that the largest criticism I“ve heard about Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was how similar it is to Human Revolution. It might have been a problem, I think, if it had been less than the five-year-long hiatus the series took between installments. Instead, the game expands the Deus Ex world, which has managed to become somehow even worse for Augmented citizens. It“s sad to say but the plot -- despite its solid Sci-Fi theme -- feels all too real in our current day and age. Even though the game kept some of the things I wish it hadn“t (*coughgridbasedinventorycough*) it still has fantastic level design and unparalleled freedom in how you approach the missions you are given. So yes, it“s more Adam Jensen. I definitely asked for this. 7. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir I“ll admit, I never played the original, but after both Muramasa Rebirth and Dragon“s Crown, there was no question in my mind I needed to. Leifthrasir, however unpronounceable the name is, proved to live up to my every expectation for a Vanillaware game. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous, with it“s hand drawn character animations and magnificent backgrounds. The entire game belongs on the side of some epic van mural. The action is no slouch either, with a combat system that keeps the action fast and fun, like a perfect mix of Muramasa and Dragon“s Crown. The high-fantasy Norse-inspired theme even gives it that little extra bit of charm. Really, there are really very few reasons not to check out this game. So what are you waiting for? 6. Kirby Planet Robobot Ok I“m really not the world“s biggest Kirby fan, in fact I suspect that might be Jon, but I digress. Kirby: Planet Robobot truly surprised me, mixing classic Kirby action with a new mechanic that didn“t focus the game too tightly around it, some fun new mini games, and of course you can“t go wrong with amiibo support. It even has a lot of call backs to Kirby“s long history, which I“m sure Jon already discussed to the point of beating a dead horse so I won“t touch it, but what I will say is that I enjoyed it even more than I did Triple Deluxe (which I did enjoy). Plus there“s a freaking mech suit, man. Come on, how do you top that? 5. Bravely Second I know I got a lot of… fiddle faddle for having the original Bravely Default on my GOTY list way back when. However, being the stubborn (and always correct) person that I am, I stand by that decision. What Bravely Default did right, it did in spades. A well thought out and nothing short of revolutionary combat system sold me that game in a big way and its sequel, Bravely Second continues that proud tradition, but fixes some of the more infuriating plot devices of the first. It even adds some cooler jobs (Catmancer, hello!). If you passed on Second because of Default, let me be the first (or perhaps only latest) person to tell you, you“ve made a huge mistake. 4. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Sometimes it“s hard to imagine that a game like Tokyo Mirage Sessions exists. Nintendo collaborating with Atlus to produce an RPG for Wii U that combines the fundamental elements of the Fire Emblem series with that of Atlus“s Shin Megami Tensei games (including elements of Persona) -- well pinch me cause this year Christmas came in June! Aside from the multifaceted combat system and game“s rich Japanese idol culture premise (both of which are highly enjoyable by the way), the game manages to do the one thing few other games on Wii U ever do… make the gamepad make sense. Aside from a functional map, the game uses the bottom screen like a cell phone, allowing you to receive (and occasionally send) text messages to your friends, all of which feel like message convos taken from my actual phone. TMS's cast of characters are as charming as they are genuine, hardly the typical JRPG tropes seen in other games. The side missions are incredibly worth it, and the designs for both mirages and main characters alike are unforgettable, especially when the game“s solo mechanic kicks in, treating you to a miniature concert as an impressive mirage attack occurs. Sure, it“s got tons of style, but TMS#FE has plenty of substance too! 3. Zero Escape Vol. 3: Zero Time Dilemma This is one of those video games in which I almost can“t say anything because SPOILERS. But the third game in Kotaro Uchikoshi“s Zero Escape series, for those of you who haven“t had the pleasure of playing them, is somewhere firmly between SAW and The Butterfly Effect (minus that goon Ashton Kutcher). The puzzles in this series are well thought out but seem to be harder in this installment, giving the most challenge I“ve encountered in this series to date. The game also hilariously has an ending you can earn in the very first minute -- if you“re lucky. But you probably aren“t so prepare to die… a lot! I honestly wouldn“t recommend playing this without playing the first two first, cause you“ll be more lost than the S.S. Minnow, but if you like a good survival horror/sci-fi-ish/VN/puzzle/psychological thriller loaded with fringe science theory and cat puns this is definitely your game. 2. Severed Imagine there“s this game system. PlayStation makes it, it“s a handheld. It has a gorgeous OLED screen, with touch capability and dual analog sticks. Now imagine the people who made other top tier games for this system that were fun, funny, and vibrant, they make a game that is about death, loss, and grief. You get to see what profound loss can turn you into if you aren“t careful. And it does all this with mostly images and very few words. And it plays like a grown up version of Infinity Blade mixed with an old school first person dungeon crawler. Well, you don“t have to imagine because all of this happened -- you probably just didn“t play it. The beauty and the pain portrayed in Severed is matched only by how simple and refined the combat is. It may not have the whimsy of their other games, but Severed is easily one of DrinkBox Studios“ best, and one of the best games overall on the Vita -- not just of this year, but of any year. 1. Overwatch It“s hard to quantify a single thing about Overwatch that pushed it to the top for me, because it isn“t a single thing, or even a few things. In truth what I liked about this game is everything. The characters are diverse and loads of personality, way more than they should considering there“s no actual story mode. Instead random character interactions and voice lines work well at giving you plenty of insight into their personalities, while additional material like the backstory and comics on Blizzard“s website fill in the gaps. The action itself is fun and frenetic, with enough updates, character and map additions, and special events to keep me playing all year. All of which were free, in fact. But at the end of the day I think the real deciding factor here is that the game is just fun, capitalizing on the things people loved about Splatoon and Team Fortress 2 and mashing them together for something that managed to stand out above just about every other game for me this year. And the best part is, I know I will still be playing this game around the time I begin to write next year“s GOTY list too.
  2. WildCardCorsair

    Review: Severed

    Developer: Drinkbox Studios Publisher: Drinkbox Studios Platform: PS Vita Release Date: April 26, 2016 ESRB: Teen Death. A lot of video games have it. A whole lot. Not many of them really address what it is, though. Not the loss, not the feeling of failure. Severed -- the latest game from indie powerhouse Drinkbox Studios -- actually does, and in an interesting way. It does so not with words but through the imagery of the protagonist“s quest to find her missing family in the land of the dead. You play as Sasha, who finds herself not only without her mother, father, and brother, but without her right arm. The how and the why are unclear, but it becomes clear very quickly that just about everything in this world wants to kill you. Up until now Drinkbox has given players plenty of humorous games, from the Tales From Space games involving '50s inspired wanton alien destruction, to a dimensional barrier-punching luchador in Guacamelee, Drinkbox games have always had a good bit of humor to them. Severed is a different beast entirely. The game tasks you with rescuing your family members in a strange place filled with vicious monsters around every corner. Your first real success, and your first real failure is a shock to the system, setting the tone for this game, one that stands firmly apart from their previous games. Indeed, this game is about loss and reconciliation, sobering themes that clash boldly against the aesthetics that pervade Severed. And while the game is not chatty in the least, you still piece together a lot on your own simply from what you see while you“re navigating this foreign world. By the end it affected me more than it had any right to considering how little written narrative exists. If you“ve heard or seen anything about Severed, I“m sure the game itself sounds like a cross between Fruit Ninja and Infinity Blade but it does more to surpass them both than any touchscreen game I've ever played. Combat is easy to learn, almost too easy in fact. Your first battle will leave you with a false sense of security that will be shattered moments later if you aren't careful. As the game progressed I found myself fighting not only more enemies, but tougher ones as well. Right up until the end combat remained challenging, upping the ante on a regular basis right along with upgrades and newly acquired abilities. Oh, and if you were at all worried, Severed is easily played with either your right or left hand. Severed“s enemies are also pretty well thought out. Because what good are fights without some ugly beasties to face the pointy end of your sword? With each new enemy, new strategies must be devised to fight them, meaning you can“t just flail about like some noob with a foam sword at his first LARP. No, you actually have to think on your feet. The order in which you defeat enemies is every bit as important as how you defeat them. Even more so, in fact, at the end of the game in which success and failure can literally depend on the order of your actions and not just your ability to rub your finger across the touchscreen really fast. I don“t want to say much about the various curveballs Drinkbox throws your way because I“d hate to give anything away about this game that I don“t absolutely have to, but my heart raced in nearly every battle, and when I won, I felt like I had earned it. But fighting is only part of this game. When you aren“t fighting creepy crawly monster dudes you“ll find yourself navigating a series of dungeons. Each of the three major dungeons in the game have their own secrets to find and puzzles to solve. Now some of you will probably be groaning right about now, “More dungeon puzzles?” Rest assured, though, the puzzles never become stale and aren“t overused in the least, many of them are just as satisfying as the battles are. As you progress through the game, slicing up bad guys and the occasional boss, the same abilities you acquire will also work in dungeons, allowing you to access previously inaccessible areas of dungeons. Doing so can reward you with even more secret treasure stashes and even a couple super secret items (oooh!). So really, instead of Infinity Blade, think of a more compact, first-person version of Skyward Sword, but without all the riding around on giant bird. Oh, and without that awful stamina meter. Basically, Severed is a game that can easily rival other heavy hitters in the dungeon exploring business, but in a shorter venture which eliminates the need for more gimmicky, repetitive dungeon design and puzzles. Severed is easy on the eyes, too. Augusto “Cuxo” Quijano (Concept Lead) and Stephen Goulet (Art Director) aimed to create a rich world inspiried by non-euro-centric cultures without being directly tied to any one of them, and I“d say the more than succeeded. The environments really shine with help from some deep hues and wonderful design. The colors alone are gorgeous enough to remark on but the striking images the game presents had a lasting affect on me long after the credits rolled. You see, the main character undergoes an incredible visual transformation, looking less and less human and more like the monstrous denizens of the world you“re journeying through (which I“m certain was the point and has some deeper meaning regarding the effect conflict and loss has on a person... but I ain“t no psychology major). Each time I passed by a mirror or opened up the upgrades menu I couldn“t help but notice the change. It felt strange seeing Sasha each time, and instead of feeling more powerful or confident, somehow I felt uneasy about the idea of her possibly trading her humanity for power. Heavy stuff man. And with some really atmospheric music that only enhances the visuals, Severed really does pull out all the stops to immerse you in this strange and frightening world. Basically, if you want to feel good again about buying a Vita, buy Severed. It“s the game that will make you remember why you loved your neglected handheld again, like some kinda dark, touch based Danielle Steele novel. You“ll look at it, wistfully. You“ll admire how brilliantly it“s OLED screen shines (unless you got a 2000 series Vita I suppose). You“ll remember the soft feel of the warm screen that responds lasciviously to your every touch. Ok, so I may have gone a bit daytime soap there, but Severed is definitely sexy and you should play with it. The ever evolving fights remain consistently challenging and will test you in a way that never feels unfair. The dungeons are as fun to explore as they are wonderful to look at. And while the end of the game is a tad bit ambiguous, the theme of the game is never disrespected and the world in which it takes place is fascinating. It left me wanting more, something only a handful of other games have accomplished. It really is a game that belongs on every Vita. Pros + The world of Severed is exotic and enticing + Combat is frantic, exciting, and more complex that it seems + Dungeon design is cleverly paced, ability gated + Lefty friendly! Cons - I wish there was more Overall Score: 9 (Out of 10) Fantastic Severed“s core concept seems simple, but is sure to surprise Vita owners with it“s wealth of impressive design and gameplay features. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  3. Jason Clement

    Severed 03

    From the album: Editor's Gallery

  4. Jason Clement

    Severed 02

    From the album: Editor's Gallery

  5. Jason Clement

    Severed 01

    From the album: Editor's Gallery