Friday, September 22, 2017

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (PS4)

NISA's latest entry in the Danganronpa series is one that goes back to it's root formula. At least somewhat. Providing once again the base character introductions, night and day exploration, character interactions, mini-games, chapter based episodes, wacky intermissions, crime scene investigations, and the murder trials brought on by the imposed killing game the developer draws the gamer into the tedious tasks at hand with great attention to detail. New additions to the experience come in the form of 16 new ultimate students, each with their own quirks and talents made prominent alongside the introduction of five foul-mouthed Monokubs, and a new school location inside what looks to be a massive cage. A cage called the, "End Wall". What drives the plot home this time is not only the unusual circumstances behind the latest event, or the new location, but more so those involved. While Monokuma returns as the series mainstay antagonist the newly introduced Ultimates, and Monokuma's five inherently murderous children known as the Monokubs (Monodam, Monokid, Monophanie, Monotaro, Monosuke) also help to push the new killing game forward.

In the way of Ultimate classmates you have the main female protagonist Kaede Akamatsu (Pianist), as well as the contributing ultimate student classmates in the form of Suichi Saihara (Detective), Angie Yonaga (Artist), Gonta Gokuhara (Entomologist), Himiko Yumeno (Magician), K1-B0 (Robot), Kaito Momota (Astronaut), Kirumi Tojo (Maid), Kokichi Oma (Supreme Leader), Korekiyo Shinguji (Anthropologist), Maki Harukawa (Child Caregiver), Miu Iruma (Inventor), Rantaro Amami (???), Ryoma Hoshi (Tennis Pro), Tenko Shabashira (Aikido Master), and Tsumugi Shirogane (Cosplayer). Each of which harbor what I like to call "PC Culture" personalities along with their accompanying Ultimate talents. Their quirks, or personalities adhere to, and poke fun at gender issues, religious beliefs, and cultural phobias among other things. It's these identity politics nods that, in my opinion, weaken the otherwise interesting and intriguing plot twists at hand.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mary Skelter: Nightmares (PS VITA)

IFI (Idea Factory International) is mostly known for their lighthearted action JRPG adventures like that of the Neptunia series. Games which are adorned with a delightful bunch of bubbly female protagonists fighting against villainous threats within their world, the Game Inudstri. For whatever reason that base formula, and series was dropped briefly for something much darker, and more mature, but oddly very fun to play through. This bloody tale that features dual protagonists in the form of Jack, and Alice begins on a horrific note with them being subjected to torture in a living tower known as the "Jail" which is located where a forgotten vanished Japanese city once stood. Run by demonic Marchens, and plagued by devilish Nightmares the once free inhabitants of the now gone Japanese district plan an escape that may never come. Luckily for Jack, and Alice though their roles are crucial to the opposing DAWN organizations escape efforts, and as a Blood Maiden herself Alice must tag along with DAWN's recruits through the dungeon-like Jail if she ever hopes to free her and her beloved Jack from their torment.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Coma: Recut (PS4)

I hate comparing games to past releases, but something struck me as being very familiar in Devespresso Games' Korean survival-horror game, "The Coma: Recut". There is unmistakable similarities between this game, and Well Bred Rhino's story driven creations such as that of, "All the Bad Parts". I'm not implying that it's copycat material, but more so that the gameplay structure is very much like said games. You have basic 2D platforming stages spread across multiple floors and rooms, and must make your way through each of the areas as an animated cartoon cutout of the protagonist upon given story cues to unlock previously locked areas until you can complete the game's outlined plot. Not only that, but you'll be searching environmental objects for useful items as well as picking up left behind clues, and even buying supplies from school vending machines using coins (won) that are hidden throughout the multiple areas of the designated location. As far as further similarities go you have a protagonist in a school who awakens to a mysterious world inhabited by alien creatures. In this case those alien creatures turn out to be ghastly shades who rule an alternative reality built upon negative energy. That realm being known as, "The Coma". In this story the protagonist Youngho encounters Sehwa High's dark past through a sleep induced traversal. One caused by studying late into the night for the next day's exam. In the topsy-turvy world he awakens to he finds possessed students, suicide victims, a pursuing malevolent version of his teacher, and a twisted plot involving a student named, Seho. The jump scares are plentiful, and the chasing spirit that haunts you on your way out a neverending threat.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Trilogy (PS4)

Bandai Namco, and their partnered development studios have always excelled in bringing to life the various anime worlds they choose to adapt. The Naruto series is no exception to that rule. In fact I think out of all their anime video game adaptations the Naruto series ranks up there among their best alongside newcomers like One Piece. Over the years Bandai Namco has published several Naruto games ranging from older yet memorable console creations to new-gen upgrades that rehash older Naruto lore while building upon it's ongoing legacy. The games included in this particular trilogy encompass all of the important Naruto origin stories as well as the more well known climactic battles built upon generations of Hidden Leaf Village ninja recruits involvement. In each of the three games you'll find story modes established upon, and driven forward by various lore inclusive interactive missions as well as a multiplayer mode that takes the chakra, and item inclusive brawls into 1v1, and team based battles. The games progressively change with each series iteration offering revamped map options, village options, and a selection of series characters sometimes exclusive to each experience. There's a lot of replay value in each game, and it all goes well beyond the item collecting. The battles themselves, which can be enjoyed in both local and online form will offer that goto entertainment that most Naruto fans look forward to. While the trilogy is dated it still holds up to today's standards with a graphics presentation fitting of a new-gen console. Even the soundtrack is impressive in it's own right.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hurricane Irma & Where I'm At ...

First, and foremost I want you to know I'm not telling you my family's problems for pity, or funding. It's just a matter-of-fact update to let you know my situation in regards to hurricane Irma's aftermath. On September 11th Irma plowed through the state of Georgia with sustained winds of 50mph, and wind gusts even higher. In the middle of it all my mother, and father lost their home to some fallen trees. Trees which could have taken their lives, but thankfully did not. I had to actually ride with my adopted mother to the scene of devastation while the storm was still very active. We took a few roads which ended our desperate attempt to get to my parents abruptly due to trees laid across the roads. Thankfully we did eventually make it there via a back road, and assisted in getting my parents, and their most important belongings out before heading back to my house. Once back at my place with a lot of my family already there we waited in the darkness of the power outage as winds wailed, and trees twisted furiously in the wind. We didn't know if a tree would hit my place or not as well, and it's a miracle they didn't as this house is surrounded by old pines, oak trees, and other trees notorious for falling in high wind situations.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth (PS4)

This latest Utawarerumono game is one that is not shy in thrusting you face first into a lore already well established. It is, at heart, a follow-up to "Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception", and it shows. From Kuon's amnesia stricken introduction to her learning of her friends' circumstances that unraveled during a politically motivated visit to the neighboring imperial city of Yamato near her home nation of Tuskur, Kuon fights for forgotten memories, and eventually to reunite with those friends who are in peril from the looming war. To begin with Kuon's awakening is interrupted with fragmented memories that gradually return in the company of familiar acquaintances in a full-on, and unmanned visual novel presentation. One that can be automated, or clicked through at your own pace. This introduction catches the player up on things in a matter of about an hour, and ends with a tutorial showcasing a hands-on version of the simple SRPG elements. A grid based system of strategic battle where elements play a role in damage dealing/resistance as well as an action chain mechanic where multiple critical hits can be landed if timed properly. As the story continues to open up in the guise of a tale being told through multiple character perspectives, one being Kuon's and the other Haku's, dialogue between said characters is shared as battles are fought for both political, and friendly reasons.