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.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Destiny 2 ~ First Impressions

Though I'm only part of the way into Destiny 2's story campaign I'm finding a detachment from the situation, and the characters presented in the extended lore. Instead of building upon the dire circumstances plaguing Earth, and it's citizens Bungie pushes things forward at breakneck speed not building enough upon side characters' relationships, but instead going way overboard with the guardian's role in the predicament. While everyone else from Earth's last safe haven struggle somewhat to get their sh*t together, and put up a fight your guardian, and ghost have a miraculous vision that leads them to a chunk of the Traveler which in turn restores their gifted powers. Ultimately making them the last hope for humanity. Between the immersion breaking missions, and the cutscenes that follow in which your guardian and ghost gain the starring role you'll find little emphasis on the emotional joint elements that should have been in place in such a tale. Everything in the story seems halfhearted, and forced to a point that it's more like an expansion to the first game than a true sequel. Your roles as the guardian hero (from what I've seen) include missions that require going from area to area to rebuild social gathering sites, and fixing safeguards as well as taking on outings that require you to fight supposedly formidable foes. The usual enemy suspects return seeming so out of place, and equally as forced as everything else that their existence is of little consequence to the proposed pivotal points of the new Destiny equation.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition (PS4)

This older entry in the One Piece gaming series by Bandai Namco returns complete, and with bonus perks for those willing to pay up for it. New to the core gaming experience that was once offered at full retail pricing without the bonus add-ons you'll get a graphics upgrade of 1080p resolution along with a complimentary 60 frames per second done up in a variable style. You'll also get 40 pieces of DLC ranging from additional characters to applicable costumes for said characters. The game as a whole is more robust, and enhanced than it was originally. For those of you who didn't get to play through the game during it's initial launch back on the PS3, and PS Vita know that it has a lot to offer in the guise of two separate modes made available from the start. Those modes being the 'Story Mode', and "Battle Colliseum". In 'Story Mode' you'll follow Luffy, the straw hat pirates, and Whitebeard as they fight in an epic battle against Akainu, and the marines. You'll participate in side quests, missions, mini-games, and other interesting in-game activities in the Transtown hub area while occasionally going on mission outings of varying difficulty ratings to confront mobs of enemies, and bosses that forward the story through gameplay, and amazingly rendered cutscenes done up in a 3D cell shaded anime style ...

Friday, September 1, 2017

My Texan Friend's GoFundMe Account

Like a lot of people in Texas hit by hurricane Harvey's unrelenting wrath my friend James Martin (@jaymo1978) has lost everything. He's lost his home, his vehicles, much needed medical supplies ... everything. I don't normally ask for your financial help for myself or for anyone, but if you could please help James and his family out. I'm sure he'd be grateful. I believe good things happen to those who give to others in a time of need. Call it karma, a spiritual blessing, or whatever, but I think something good will come of your helping James. He has setup a Gofundme where you can assist in his needs. Any amount will help, and the more who give a little something the better off he'll be. I'll leave a link to his account below. At the very least please take a look at it, and share it. We may all one day be in a similar situation of need. Thanks in advance!

Hobby Highlight Archive ~ Comic Book Haul (Aug. 2017)



This August I ditched the MARVEL comics purchases despite seeing some interesting series spin-offs of the MARVEL Zombies, and Deadpool fame. I will not support any publication, or entertainment industry provider who lets political ideology ruin their set in stone formula for creative direction, especially ideologies which aim to undermine freedoms, and further the social divide. Sadly, after making my indie comics purchases this time around I returned home only to find DC Comics stepping in the same social sh*t storm as MARVEL did. Only on a more damning note though. Using an old heroine named ISIS they intentionally promoted hate against the current US president, and further the promotion of the Muslim/Islamic state through the Muslim outing and re-introduction of the character. This is unforgivable in that the character's namesake in conjunction with DC Comics' new Muslim direction pokes at a raw nerve in regards to the terror group ISIS, and could easily be taken as a slap to the face of those who see ISIS for what it is. I personally will not be buying anymore DC Comics, because of this. Any other comic book publisher who wishes to follow in similar footsteps as that of MARVEL, and DC Comics will not be getting my money.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

ARK: Survival Evolved (FINAL REVIEW)

From a Beta to the final product Wild Card Studios', "ARK: Survival Evolved" has evolved into quite the polished product. While I did notice some lingering issues in the form of a half-done "Survival Guide" tutorial section without control explanations included, and a couple of bugs the game impressed me enough to get a recommendation in my Youtube video review. I think the developer's dedication to the project through the Beta phase, and future content scheduled for release beyond the final version is enough to make me believe that the game will continue getting the love and attention it needs to make server play last. Server play, as you might have guessed is a key selling point for ARK. It allows for online coop, and competitive clan/tribe play on hosted, or non-hosted servers. For those of you worried about a more singular experience there is a singleplayer option within the base survival mode. If you prefer server play though you can find those lobbies ready for your enjoyment. The catch is you'll get the base game at the base price, and the DLC add-ons at a more premium price. The DLC in question adds in extra server options based on new unique in-game areas.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Paragon ~ Drongo

Today Epic Games released their new Paragon character, "Drongo". Drongo is being hailed as a scavenger, and looks like someone from a post-apocalyptic wasteland. His name sounds sort of Australian, and the inclusion of an ability damage boomerang pretty much confirms this origin. His skills are very military in nature outside of the inclusion of the boomerang. He has an AOE gas grenade that's good for clearing out minions, and banking gold. He also has a radioactive bullet buff that goes along with his primary weapon which is a revolver that does not require reload. His ultimate is a cluster rocket that when launched causes Drongo to back flip out of the way. A sort of scatter blast without the blast. In the way of stats he is heavy on the basic damage, but low on durability, and the other stats. Though his mobility is fairly good as well.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Darkest Dungeon: Crimson Edition (PS4)

Darkest Dungeon is a brilliantly orchestrated video game love letter to all things Lovecraft. Taking into account H.P. Lovecraft's intertwining worlds of psychological horror, and that staple style of storytelling the developer known as Red Hook applies every possible detail in accordance to said source material to make the game's journey into delirium all the more genuine. Every choice you make in relation to your outgoing party's descent into the abysmal estate grounds that they find themselves treading underfoot is so crucial that the experience at hand becomes quite the task from the get go. From the intense battles to the trek through the growing darkness you will witness your hired characters losing their sanity as they fall victim to every physical, and metaphysical threat imaginable. Their only comfort coming from rest, and restoration at a nearby hamlet. A place where the sins of the flesh, and a visit to the sanitarium can cure all of their ills. Of course this all comes with a price, and it is through your increasingly difficult adventures that you will not only stave off the unwelcome denizens of the damned to relieve your family's curse, but also loot the residence for what it's worth. With an eerie atmosphere amplified by blood red visuals, and a dark theme filled with voice-over talent befitting of a 'Triple A' game release this challenging ordeal that awaits you will no doubt intrigue even the most wary of gamers despite any issues they might have with hardcore gaming experiences. That I believe.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Darkest Dungeon: Crimson Edition ~ Preview Review

I have begun my playthrough of the Darkest Dungeon. I am currently a few hours into my playthrough as of this evening. I think I'm up to week 3 of the weekly system that governs the game's passing of time in relation to character events. So far I'm falling in love with this game. It takes to heart every aspect of H.P. Lovecraft's literary works. The whole driven to insanity at the threat of inhuman horrors ploy is very much intact within this game. All packaged with robust mechanics and features meant to keep you invested despite the extreme difficulty the game presents from the start. The battle, and dungeon exploration system involved along with perma-death vulnerable characters makes every thing you do all the more important, and the consequences thereafter more impacting. For example, rushing blindly into battle ill-equipped, and ill-prepared can lead to negative quirk afflictions which will hinder party progress due to the characters' inability to rationalize the dire situation they find themselves in or deal with the trauma inflicted by the Lovecraftian horrors they encounter as they delve deeper into the estate's cavernous underbelly. The game's mechanics, and features, in particular play heavily on each party member's psychological well being, and their tolerance of physical afflictions. Making each character seemingly more human in the process, and more relative as a result.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dante's Alternative Service

I know developers hate getting bad reviews, and that in most cases issues with the games can be ironed out with follow-up patches. That is why I've decided to offer an alternative to a review if developers, and publishers wish to take advantage of my gaming expertise. What do I offer? For a game or game code I'm willing to use the knowledge I've gathered from 30 years of gaming to play test your games, and help you find the issues before launch. I've played every genre imaginable, and have seen just about every mechanic there is. On top of that I'm good at understanding new mechanics, and features even through a language barrier. My time spent playing the Japanese port of "Kai-ri-sei Million Arthur" is a testament to this fact as I cannot read Japanese script, or understand spoken Japanese. I actually used my understanding of RPG mechanics, and menu setups to be able to navigate, play, and learn the new features of that game. If this is something you are interested in please contact me via my email which is provided in the "CONTACT" section of this blog. Either that or hit me up on Twitter at (@OtakuDante). I am very serious about this offer, and none of the info shared through email will be posted. It will be a between you, and me deal.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bleed (PS4)

This Nephilim Studios created, and Digerati Distribution published indie is one of those inspired gaming experiences that tries to change the retro formula ever so slightly. Taking inspiration mostly from the Contra series, 'Bleed' puts you in the boots of a pink haired female anti-heroine who is on a mission. Armed with dual weapons, the ability to slow down time, and the ability move acrobatically through the the air she aims to clear off her death list which happens to contain the names, and biographies of the six greatest heroes of all time. Her goal is to become the ultimate successor by ending their reign through death, and taking their place. The year, as with most indie platformers of similar design, is 20XX. Going at it alone, or with a second player you, as the pink haired anti-heroine, and your local co-p partner as one of three other unlockable characters will bleed into existence a new era of heroes through a trial and error playthrough where lives don't matter, and the troubling tasks before you are exactly that.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

HONEST CRITIQUE Parody Review & Review ~ LawBreakers (PS4)

Disclaimer: The following intro article is a parody micro-review not meant to be taken too seriously. Though it holds some truth it is not how I truly feel about LawBreaker's offered gaming experience. Take it with a grain of salt ...

LawBreakers. A first-person class based arena-shooting hero shooter with no tutorials, no character backgrounds, and politically correct diversity so dominate that American (white) looking characters are nowhere to be found ... except maybe that hulking rocket launcher toting mohawk girl who is definitely gender fluid. Grip your controllers tightly, and press out buttons like a madman (or woman or gender fluid person) as you utilize a gravity defying movement skill, an attack skill, an ultimate, and basic attacks. Defy the laws of the world, and universe that, that white guy Edison set as fact while you fly, run, and teleport around like a paranoid schizophrenic who can't figure out where the hell you should be, and what the hell you should be doing ... because there's no FRACKING tutorial!

When you've done all that loot the game for what it's worth with your superficial stash earnings won from a game experience that feels so casual it gives Call of Duty's casualness a run for it's money. If you don't want to stop there throw even more of your hard earned money at the screen for micro-currency that you can spend to unlock the previously mentioned palette swapped character skins of different rarities, weapon camo of the same rare variety, boot stomping tattoos!?, weapon decals, and avatars that would put most modern day emojis to shame. Stuff that you can mostly get for doing your time, and committing to the grind. All of which ranges from the absolutely uninteresting "who gives a flying f**k?" identifiers to the sarcastically impressed, "Oh, that looks neat ..." cosmetics. At least the character skins with helmets let you imagine you are playing a white American dude, or dudette. Starring every stereotypical, and politically correct character persona in the book ... minus the average white guy, and well-groomed white girl. LawBreakers, breaking the laws of the known hero shooter universe ... that and true diversity.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Accel World vs Sword Art Online (PS4)

The title of this latest Bandai Namco dual console game, and it's accompanying cover art can be a bit misleading. It no doubt makes you think that there's some sort of epic crossover battle going on between the Accel World, and Sword Art Online personas. While there are moments of battle between the two worlds' warriors this is not entirely the case though.The focus instead is mainly upon Kirito's, Asuna's, and Yui's predicament. Particularly with Yui's imprisonment through an encounter with the Twilight Witch, or whom the game refers to as Persona Vabel. Vabel's introduction in the plot happens pretty much in the same way as the plight in previous SAO stories did. Kirito, and his digital family (Asuna & Yui) are lazing about in a new VRMMO world when something odd happens. They receive a warning to log out, but do not heed it, and thus find themselves in an increasingly confusing situation. As usual they team up with in-game friends, and in this case also with characters from Brain Burst, to fight the hidden force that is behind Yui's capture. The story that follows is a slow burn for the most part with interactive character sequences, brief gameplay focused outings in the form of lesser and greater enemy battles as well as optional side modes, and quests to delve into should you desire to do so. All for the sake of giving the gamer an intriguing spin-off story that is presented in such a way it could be considered a reflection of the VRMMO fantasy world which the characters within hail from.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

What The Inferno Offers You (Follow Up)

If you took at least a glance at my view capture from my Google+ page, and then checked my Google analytics of today you'd probably be scratching your head wondering how the hell over 3 million page views up, and disappeared like a fart in the wind? I personally cannot figure it out, but do have an idea as to how it ended up this way. Shortly after using my Google+ views as a credible reference Google removed completely the view count from everyone's Google+ page. At that point in time my view count on my Google+ page, which mirrored my blog with review posts, was nearing the 4 million views mark. Also around that time I began calling PR into account for their misdeeds, and sharing my thoughts about the crookedness of industry practices. Fast forward a couple of years past the removal of Google+ view counts, and Google+ itself no longer shows my review posts. This could be attributed to the hard to use site UI, and my inability to set settings right, or it could be the site's push to further obscure me in the shadows of the internet while making me look less as popular as I once was. I think my step into politics may have hit some raw nerves as I don't shy away from telling the truth.

What the Inferno Offers You (Revisited)

I've often times reached out to PR, gaming studios, and publishers in hopes I could review their games. I've promised significant views of my reviews, thorough reviews, and critiques without a harsh delivery. I have always delivered on all three things. While the blog itself doesn't get as many views as my other review view sources the reviews are definitely getting noticed. How do I know this? Well, for one thing my Google+ page which houses my reviews gets around 2,000 views daily for each new review that is posted on that page. This actually lasts for a good while after the review is posted. Of course those review posts mirror what I post here on the blog, but are simplified in comparison. As far as the thorough nature of said reviews go I've never once left out any significant details. I've usually provided more in-depth reviews than what most sought after mainstream sites care to provide. These reviews I speak of have sometimes been over ten full length paragraphs. I've included detailed mechanics breakdowns, character descriptions, story descriptions, and even audio/graphics assessments among other things. I have dedicated many hours to each, and every review I've typed up. I have delivered on my promises. I've even gone out of my way to let developers know why their games have gained a less than favorable verdict, and what it is they could do to improve upon the game. To be told otherwise by certain PR that I've done several reviews for in the past is slap to the face.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Orcs Must Die! Unchained & Marvel Heroes Omega

Since the launch of the PS4, and the introduction of free-to-play games on that console what has been offered has varied in quality. For the most part you'll find games that don't shy away from asking for money for in-game micro-transactions, and that at some point demand such a purchase for you to really be able to make the most of your experience with it. Games which are sometimes mere mobile games by nature, and other times games that harbor a richer and more elaborate presentation. I've found a few gems among the free-to-play games library, and some games not worth returning to. I think the greatest disappointment of all for me was finding at floor 23 of Grasshopper Manufacture's "Let it Die" that the boss residing there was such a deliberate overpowered sponge that you had to either pay up for extra tries/lives or not get much further. It was such a problem that I deleted the game from my console out of sheer frustration. I believe, as a gamer, that there needs to be a balance when it comes to a free-to-play games' gameplay. There needs to be a way to play through it without paying, and a good reason to pay the developer outside of the base game offerings. The latter need possibly being tied to DLC of the exclusive/cosmetic sort which does not produce a pay to win situation. There also needs to be a fairness in regards to the free progression. It can't be too tedious/grind heavy, or the developer risks losing a majority of it's player base. The player needs to feel that they are properly rewarded for their time invested regardless of whether or not they've paid for anything within the game.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Questionable Quickie ~ Why Injustice 2's AI Simulator is Not A Proper AI Simulator

I've tried since the launch of Injustice 2 to find the perfect AI simulator setup for my AI simulator team. Sometimes I've succeeded, and other times I've failed using the same three character team with the same static stats. What's odd is that like a match against a human player even once promising AI constructs in similar match-ups were beaten regardless of former victories under similar circumstances. Hear me out a moment. At one point (using the same setup) my lvl.20 Aquaman beat a lvl.20 Batman, but going against the same character with the same level, and moves later on my Aquaman ended up fighting differently, and lost as a result. Ultimately as a bi-product of becoming more negligent, and careless with the actions, and reactions he/it applied. The latter Batman also did as the former batman tended to do, only switching things up as to not mirror every other Batman, but more effectively so due to my Aquaman's missteps. All the while with my Aquaman harboring a similar brawler type setup as this Batman AI obviously had.

What you have to take in account is that players tweak 6 stats up to 30 points each, but limited to a total of 60 points altogether. Points which are strategically allotted to make the AI character behave in a certain/specific way in the unmanned matches. These are strategically assigned, and more often than not players will adjust the stats as appropriate for the type of character they are putting into a match. A couple of examples being that a zoning character will get a decent amount of their stat points allotted to zoning, and runaway while characters that are brawlers will get more stat points assigned to rushdown, combos, and counters. All because the characters are more efficient with certain play styles. Thus is the "programming" to act, and react in specific ways, but not in a truly adaptive AI mannerism.

Hobby Highlight Archives (July 2017)

Fighting Games

video game cases

Despite being called a salty noob by so many internet naysayers me, and fighting games have a long history. A very long history. A history spanning over thirty years. It was journey through time that included my early gamer days, and my latter gaming journalist days. Though my path has fairly much been set since then my origins leading up to today were more of a chance encounter. It wasn't until my 13th birthday that I really got into fighting games, and I really had to fight for that opportunity on a religious scale due to my parents' stance on violence. It was a late entry point no doubt, but an entry point at the perfect time. That time being at a point when the genre was really beginning to expand.

I'm still here ...

I know have had a lack of posts, and reviews here on the blog. Between being passed up for game reviews, and finding myself turned off by the state of the gaming industry I've found it hard to feel as enthusiastic or as passionate as I once was. The email conversation between me, and a certain PR really changed my perspective on things. I realized that a majority of PR were in the business for all the wrong reasons. Those reasons relating the push for false advertisements via clickbait articles, and misplaced hype via Hollywood style presentations through bought out journalists/streamers. I don't want to be a part of an industry that overlooks the need for quality, and instead seeks only view numbers or cash payout without thinking of the consequences. Most of them gamble it all on the false hopes that such things provide. In banking it all on pre-orders, and misplaced hype they wrong the consumer, and ruin the industry itself. I realize that not all PR are like that, but I remain steadfast in saying that a majority of them are. That of course leaves me at a crossroads. I'm forced to reflect on my goals, and reconsider what it is I sought to do. I loved reviewing the games for you, and sharing the brighter side of the industry when there was such a thing to share, but if all that remains is cons and con artists I don't want to be a part of it. I hate hating on games, and the industry for it's repeat mistakes. If that's all I have left to do it might be time to switch focus. As of now I'm thinking it through, and carefully considering my next step.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A PSA From OtakuDante

Taken from Twitter ...

I think the influence/reputation part of the PR biz is partially responsible for the declining state of the industry. The industry stalemate, as it were. The stalemate in question including all those bad business practices that only seem to worsen through the complacency of the consumer. The truth is the industry itself as a whole will never change if we keep throwing our money so blindly at it. So, do your part. Speak with your wallet/purse, and become well informed about a game before buying into it. Game demos are the best option to do so with as are alphas and betas. Seeking out favored reviewer's or critic's opinions is also a decent alternative if you can trust the source. An even bigger tip for those reading this article is that if you see a famous streamer starting a gaming trend that would otherwise not be popular such as streaming bad games because they are bad be wary of it. I firmly believe such ideas are planted by businesses for the sake of drawing you unknowingly into a cycle of paying blindly for things that people normally wouldn't buy ...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

ATTN: Developers, PR & Publishers

What I'm about to share is in no way a pompous, or self-promoting dig at how game industry providers pick, and choose which outlets get review material. I understand where they come from on some things, but not everything. I've often times stated how view count is not the tell all standard when it comes to product success. With outlets using clickbait article titles, and offering up chances at winning expensive/noteworthy prizes it's no wonder they have an impressive view count. What they lack though should also be held to account. That is the lack of an audience that agrees with them, or understands them. An audience, though engaging, which amounts to nothing more than trolling and calling them out for the misguided journalists that they are. I have a beef with this not because I'm jealous, but because such outlets overshadow those of us lesser outlets who really put the work in, and who have a genuine following of viewers, and readers.

Industry providers have a choice. At the end of the day PR can gamble away their chances with these bigger, lacking outlets for sheer exposure (exposure which which happens regardless of their critique), or they can help guys like me help them. By that I mean in lifting up the lesser outlets, and promoting them to the point they get the views they desire they will not only get the views, but they will get quality reviews more freely. I personally work for peanuts, a game for a review. Bigger outlets though leech off of the success or sometimes lack of success of those who impart on them review material, and early/exclusive access to games/game events. They bank big money on ad revenue, and views while the developers often times struggle to make ends meet.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire (PS4)

YYT, or YummyYummyTummy as they are known is a development studio who is trying to break the mold of action RPGs by setting the stage for "Fallen Legion: Sins of the Empire" with a sort of reactionary 'dial-a-combo' system. Something that kind of takes in account a turn-based strategy, but not entirely so. At the heart of this story, choice, and action driven game you follow, and play as a fallen emperor's daughter who goes by the name Cecille, and/or Octavia. It seems the reluctant successor Octavia finds herself in a bit of a mess as her father's kingdom is facing economic ruin, and all out warfare, because of the state of things. Greedy for her father's position as the next rightful ruler is one of Octavia's acquaintances, Legatus. Legatus wants the throne, and power for all the wrong reasons while Octavia wants to get in power long enough to set things right. At least in her own point of view. Thus is the struggle, or rather the fight focus of the protagonist, and antagonist of the plot. Through the inheritance of a talking Grimoire Octavia discovers how to cast spells via soulmancy as well as how to summon exemplars from Elysia, or souls of long lost warriors who can fight alongside her in battle. She uses this newfound power to fight her way to her father's throne while facing the army of Legatus. Along the way she makes choices for the kingdom that will either boost morale, or cripple said morale while effectively changing the ending of her tale once she succeeds in doing what she does.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Let's Talk ~ The Toxic Fighting Game Community

Contrary to what console creators like Sony want you to believe the problem that is player toxicity within online gaming, in general, is so bad it has left many games in ruin. When it comes to fighting games, in particular, the toxicity I speak of goes well beyond the often times joked about saltiness, and poor sportsmanship. In fact the biggest problem facing fighting games to this day is the sought after casual gamers' unwillingness to properly learn the games as they were originally intended to be learned. By this I mean they want to look good without earning it. Like a thrown boxing fight they'll play dirty. Only in this case with lagswitches, mods, and mapped controllers to make it appear that they are legit pros. Purely for bragging rights, because that's what's popular with the CoD crowd. This is an absolute facade, and is used more, and more frequently by the worst side of the FGC because of two things. Those two things being a lack of moderation from console service providers, and secondly the development studios' intentional push to make "competitive" games accessible to a "casual" audience.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hobbying on a Budget

I was a habitual spender for the longest time. I used to buy entertainment related items on release including video games, and dvds. Nowadays, however I'm very careful how I budget my extra $100 hobby funds each month. I've learned that buying things on launch usually isn't the best idea, especially with the trend of half-assed movies and broken ass video games being released more, and more regularly. I'm all about getting more bang for my buck even if that means waiting a bit. If I buy dvds now, for example I'll usually pick up something out of the bargain bin, and something that is a sure hit. As far as games go I've come to the point I don't mind buying a used game, and will do that if it means I can use the rest of my hobby money on something else as well. When it comes to games, in particular I tend to buy the ones with good replay value. Shooters, arcade style games, and fighting games are my top picks. On occasion I'll also pick up an RPG, because I know from experience that the RPG games contain vastly more content than your standard action/adventure game. It's all about getting more while paying less. The total opposite of what Hollywood, and various gaming studios bank on the average hobbyist doing. Don't get me wrong though. I understand that to make ends meet, and to keep providing entertainment the respective industry providers must make a certain amount of day one sales at the initial marked price. It's just not gonna be me until they do away with their corporate greed, and poor business practices though.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

What if games are being created to grief & cheat you?

Did you ever feel like the odds in competitive games were unfairly stacked against you? That certain things seemed so blatantly, and obviously placed in the AI's or other players' favor that it was more than just a coincidence? Well, you are not alone. It has been speculated by many gamers that certain games are being manipulated for one reason or the other. In Destiny, for example an overwhelming community majority thinks Bungie has purposefully ignored complaints about unfair adjustments, and that through their disregard for the gamer have made things purposefully unfair. Some claim the matchmaking is intentionally geared to pair top tier players against players doing questionable things online. Often times it's the gamers who are calling out Bungie on these things in their forums that see the greatest negative impact to their k/d. Not only that, but Bungie moderators also remove posts that make them out to be guilty, and sometimes ban complainers from the forums entirely.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cryptark (PS4)

Alien Trap Games' "Cryptark" on the PS4 is an interesting science fiction space shooter with rogue-like elements. At least that's what it's being played off as. I find it to be a somewhat annoying blend of Metroidvania, and shoot 'em up features with a sort of H.R.Giger and actual Metroid based inspiration. Of course rouge-like elements do play a part in all of that though. The game itself features four modes of play, and familiar mechanics that are setup in a way which adheres to a salvaging crew's logic. The four modes include a story driven "Campaign," an action oriented "Rogue Mode", "A Co-op Campaign", and an unlockable mode known as "Cryptark Excavation" ...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

America's Army: Proving Grounds ~ My Thoughts

What I'm about to share will no doubt stir up some raw emotions, and feelings. I'll probably catch flak for it, and possibly lose some of you, because of it. Regardless of that I'm going to push forward as I feel what I have to say is important. I will leave the comment section open to anyone who wishes to debate me in my beliefs, and will engage in civil conversation if the person/s in question asks me to do so. Let us begin ...

First, and foremost war is not glorious. It is not an event where you are guaranteed to go into the conflict as a nobody, and come out alive on the other end as a recognized hero/heroine with tons of bragging rights. You might get your badges of honor, and be remembered by those whose lives you've impacted, but beyond that you'll suffer the scars of PTSD, possible war injury, and a lack of proper care when back in the states. In saying this I'm not implying that we shouldn't stand up for those we care about, or not fight in a war when our country's future is at stake, but sometimes the motives behind war, and the recruitment of armies isn't as black & white as it seems. Sometimes people need to take a step back, and weigh the possible consequences of signing up for such a cause. It goes without saying that the reasoning behind the engagement should also be questioned. At the end of the day the army, navy, and air force is a country's defense against those who would cause said country, and it's civilian population harm. It should be viewed as such, and used as such. While it may be a necessity to have, and recruit an army that army should never, in a civil regard, be used to conquer other nations, especially when unprovoked or without proper motive. Nor should it be turned against those it's sworn to protect.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Danganronpa Another Story: Ultra Despair Girls (PS4)

For this review I'm going to mainly stick to the pros and cons of the PS4 port while going over in minor detail the direction of the story, and how it relates to the happenings of the first Danganronpa game. No spoilers though, and no mechanics breakdowns outside of what is new. If you want to catch up on the full scope of the game be sure to check out this link to my PS Vita review of the same game (https://thegaminginferno.blogspot.com/2015/08/danganronpa-another-episode-ultra.html) ...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Chess Ultra (PS4)

Chess, the undisputed game of kings. Among all competitive games there is none other that comes close to being as pure, and strategically challenging as it is. It has often been used as a reference to various real world conflicts including the conquering of nations, and warfare itself. It has even been used in quotes regarding wisdom, and other things of intellectual importance. As a former chess player I, myself have played various forms of the age old game including the traditional kind against real players as well as video game versions against AI controlled grandmasters, and even in the form of battle chess with animated fighting pieces. Over the years many game developers have taken a shot at making the perfect chess video game experience, and for a while "Chessmaster" has been that fine example of chess purity. With Ripstone joining the league of such developers I have to say that they tackled the enigma of chess quite well. Though their version of the game is simple in some respects, and limited in others it helps the player to rise from the lower ranks of understanding to grandmaster status through time spent in the offline, and online portions of "Chess Ultra". All in an easy to understand manner.

Friday, June 16, 2017

GOD WARS Future Past (PS4)



NISA's, and Kadokawa Games' new strategy JRPG, "GOD WARS Future Past" blends the old Disgaea formula with a more straightforward story presentation. That story being one that takes the hero, and heroine of the tale being told on a journey through a land bound by old sacrificial traditions, and against the judgement of Japanese gods. At the beginning, through comic panels and anime sequences, we are clued into the narrative which has a particular shrine maiden named Tsukuyomi sacrificing her own youngest daughter (Sakuya) to the angered gods of Mt.Fuji in hopes that it will calm their imposing wrath, and restore peace to the native villages. Being distraught by losing her young daughter in the act Tsukuyomi breaks down, and eventually turns from her duty assigning Kitsune as the village overseer while eventually vanishing thirteen years after the fact with another of her daughters being held as a potential sacrifice to satiate the anger of the gods should their temper flare up again. This daughter (Kaguya), by fate, meets a concerned villager named Kintaro who promises to free her from her prison so that she can see the world, and the beautiful flowers that reside upon Mt.Fuji. In light of an uprising caused by village famine Kintaro seizes the opportunity alongside his bear-like companion Kuma, and frees Kaguya from her prison fulfilling his promise. It is at this point the two realize they have an uphill battle ahead of them, and that to find out the truth behind the gods' anger they will have to seek Kaguya's missing mother, Tsukuyomi. Along the way Kintaro, and Kaguya's friendship grows as they face off against insurmountable odds to defy the gods, and ultimately free their people from the oppression thereof.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Damascus Gear: Operation Tokyo HD (PS4)

Other than the HD graphics upgrade, and the inclusion of the former PS Vita DLC this PS4 port of, "Damascus Gear: Operation Tokyo" is simply more of the same. It's the same simple gameplay focused arcade-like experience surrounded by minimal lore that could be shrugged off as a borrowed idea. Like so many other JRPGs the characters involved are a part of a special organization fighting desperately for humanity's survival, and like those types of games it has you fighting off non-human entities with advanced weaponry. In this case that weaponry being mechs known as, "Gears". By piloting a Gear you are ultimately tasked, sometimes along with other NPCs (Non-Player Characters), to complete timed objectives which will be graded according to completion standards. This includes killing off the Rage (non-piloted mechs) during delivery, reconnaissance, and threat ending missions. Think of it as Pac-Man fighting off the constantly respawning ghostly trio with dual weapons for the sake of looting Rage parts, and scoring that highest ranking on the missions listing.  While the game itself is definitely unique in those regards, both in build and functionality, it still leans heavily on other gaming ideas. Details which will become obvious if you choose to buy into what Arc System Works is reselling. I suppose, in retrospect it isn't all that bad of an experience though. It's just not as story heavy, or content heavy as a lot of modern-day JRPGs are.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Battleborn (Trial) ~ Impressions

After playing the trial it became clear to me that Gearbox's aim in regards to "Battleborn" was to hook a new audience for lobby population sake, and to revive the game's popularity through a lucrative/beneficial free-to-play system. While the term "Trial" doesn't accurately describe this free-to-play version of Battleborn it does hint at the fact that you will not be getting the complete experience unless you fork over some cash for season pass content. In fact you'll only gain access to a third of what the full game contained should you choose to download the trial. New to the trial version of Battleborn is currency based micro-transactions that come in the guise of two forms of coin credits. One type of credit (blue) being easier to obtain through the game's new quests offerings, and the other (gold) not so easy to obtain. Both credits can be earned in-game, or bought through the PSN store via DLC. Earned, or bought credits can buy and unlock the usual content regardless of how you obtained them. This includes characters, cosmetics, and gear that will boost performance stats in one of the three main multiplayer matchmaking modes.

 Speaking of said modes you will not gain access to the story or the operations modes which are, in my opinion what makes the experience worthwhile due to the objective based co-op content contained within each. Instead you'll gain access solely to the game's competitive multiplayer modes including a Versus mode which houses a rotation of game types and maps as well as an Incursion mode which is a more direct multiplayer mode of play. There's also an AI bot battle in which 5 online gamers will face off against 5 AI bots. All game/mode types are a 5v5 team based battle with different goals governing each. Along with the multiplayer comes the promised unlimited leveling, and loot system that will have you grinding for hours upon end to unlock everything in the game while climbing the ranks of the global leaderboard. If you are looking to train on your own there is also a training mode just for that.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Hobby Highlight Archives (MAY 2017)

HORROR


horror dvd cases

Horror. It's a word that conjures up feelings of fear on various levels for many people. Whether it be nightmares, violent unmerciful deaths, or even the fear of the unknown mortal man has in his own way adapted to and dealt with the many horrors of life through the ages. While horror, and the fear inducing panic thereof has no definitive origin it has followed humanity like a plague throughout history. Through tales of terror, religion, imagination itself, and real life encounters mankind has always been afraid of something. A primal instinct embedded within us, and for good reason. Some of us develop phobias in our lifetime, or fears of certain things while others embrace it's darkness in the form of entertainment that mimics, and plays down the real threat of being mortal in the presence of so many life ending possibilities.

Friday, June 2, 2017

TEKKEN 7 ~ The Story (Spoilers!!!)

After having played Injustice 2, and seeing how good a fighting game could be in regards to story direction I was taken aback by the sub-par experience that TEKKEN 7 held. TEKKEN 7's story mode is lazy. Pure laziness. It's a mixture of slightly animated art panels complimented by emotionless voice acting, and further told through equally emotionless CG cutscenes. There's even a rehashing of old cinematic sequences from past TEKKEN games thrown in as filler material. Some of which look better than the current CG scenes. The story that's being told is unnecessarily drawn out with fights that feel less than heightened as well. It's as if they were thrown in as filler material themselves. One fight in particular, the climactic battle between Akuma and Heihachi, has Akuma playing like a weakling while Heihachi manages to completely avoid direct hits, and sponge up a majority of the damage thrown at him. One would expect Akuma to dominate his arse, especially in context with his forced role in the story, but Akuma takes a distant second seat to Heihachi in regards to battle prowess early on. Particularly in the player controlled portion of the fight.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku! (PS4)

Cladun makes perhaps one of the series' most significant returns in, "Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku!". That return being centered around an Edo period spirit world called Arcanus Cella in which reincarnation is the ultimate goal. Still utilizing the voxel and pixel appearance of older series iterations as well as dungeon exploration aspects of the same the newly released PS4 port of this latest Cladun adventure takes the gamer on an otherworldly journey that's all about defeating yokai, and making right the wrongs of your life so that you can be reincarnated. Through the aiding of lost souls, and the micro-management of the game's unique magic circle mechanic you will take your class and personality specific self through ran-geons (speed-run focused dungeons) as you battle, loot, and better equip yourself to take on the ten chapters worth of story driven gameplay. On the side you'll also gain access to lucrative optional quests that reward in currency, items, and fame points. You'll even trek through special 99 floor ran-geons with a random gate system which will either reward you with rare item drops, or make it hard for you to survive long enough to get to the next floor's gate. Along with those replay heavy additions comes an editing system where you can customize your characters' looks as well as extras like the MML song creation system in which you'll be using music scales, octaves, and other musical options to create music within the game. Needless to say this game is chock full of interesting, and noteworthy content that will definitely give the gamer more bang for their buck if they are willing to give it a chance.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

INJUSTICE 2 (VERDICT)

Going from concerned to content I find myself greatly enjoying Netherrealm Studio's latest superhero fighting game spin-off. Everything from the story, to the online feels fair enough even though it isn't perfect, yet. There's plenty of rewarding offline content to enjoy each day, and plenty of fun to be had in the online competitive scene as well. Dare I say it, Injustice 2's online feels like a much smoother, and vastly more enjoyable experience than it's predecessor. As far as presentation goes the game itself is gorgeously rendered even on the standard PS4 console. Characters look much more appealing as do the stages, and the many special effects. Speaking of which the story was so cinematic in nature it could have easily been it's own animated film. It is that good. I liked the fact that in the story mode playthrough the player was never once subjected to mini-games. This made the story being told more cohesive, and worthy of the gamers' undivided attention. When it comes down to the details everything that Injustice 2 offered was leaps, and bounds ahead of the first game's content. It's nice to see a developer take fan feedback, and put it into production. I've even noticed that Ed Boon, and his team has tweaked boss fights so that they aren't too terribly oppressive which I'm personally thankful for. As of now Injustice 2 is my current favorite fighter, and I have already willingly sunk many hours into learning my favorite characters, completing the story, and grinding for loot. It's an experience I can easily recommend to any fighting game fan who's looking for that next worthy fighter.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Electro-Magnetic Perpetually Motivated Jet Propelled Aircraft (Rough Draft)

I know it's a long name for a UFO, but hear me out. After fidgeting a while with a fidget spinner I began pondering on how I could get a UFO aircraft to lift, and to move in a similar fashion as the fidget spinner does. My theory involves a structural base build similar to that of a fidget spinner, but with a generated magnetic field, an alloy turbine, an alloy jet propulsion engine, and an alloy ball bearing system. The center of the aircraft would theoretically stay stationary much like the center portion of the fidget spinner does, and would house the pilots as well as a center communication and navigation terminal which would also remain stationary when the aircraft's iron weighted wings/propeller blades spun around the magnetic outer casing of the hub. Atop, and below the center construct would lie two jet/wind propulsion engines which would tie-in with the magnetically propelled rotary blades which in themselves will act as a windmill does, and power portions of the aircraft's electronics ...

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 DLC Upgrade (PS4)

From the start the DLC upgrade that is "Rev 2" struck me as being off. It was marketed as being a two character bundle with balance changes. The characters at normal cost, and together would have only cost the gamer $16, but the DLC upgrade was being sold at $19.99 ... When it comes to the balance changes, while they are significant, I feel the visual/structural overhaul that was included should have been a free update to the core game. By selling it as a part of the DLC Aksys Games/PQube has effectively split the GG community. I understand that you have the option to revert back to the core Revelator experience in full, but this defeats the purpose of buying the DLC upgrade in the first place. Beyond that there is something very wrong with the additional DLC being sold on the side. I personally bought Baiken's voice DLC, and color palette DLC. Both of which did not appear as optional options in-game. I was robbed. I was sold BS. That alone is enough of a reason to warrant hate on this DLC package. Along with the splitting of the community, and the matchmaking issues that are connection identifiers this DLC upgrade is an all around botched deal. Speaking of connection indicators the developer thought it wise to color favorable connections red, and unfavorable green. Who in their right mind does that?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pox Nora (Micro Review)

Desert Owl Games' PC card based strategy RPG was released this week on the PS4 as a free-to-play experience. Alongside it's base release came paid for starter bundles ranging from $30 - $50 with some paid for currency and card DLC thrown in for good measure. While I had zero intention of paying anything for the experience I went into the game to see if it was even worth bothering with at the no pay level. In doing so I was met with gameplay that was so confusing that it made me want to delete it only part of the way into the tutorial. The main flaws I encountered came in the form of a poorly crafted control layout, an equally poorly crafted user interface, and the over-complication of mechanics that have no reason at all to be so complicated. When it comes to said mechanics, or point of the game you are basically meant to use your bought or earned card troops to farm Nora (the game's main resource for troop usage), fight the opponent's troops, guard your spire, and destroy the opponent's base. All in a turn based sense. Somehow the developer made this simple series of steps extremely complicated through menu navigation though. So much so that I stumbled around the tutorial's guided first section tour for a good thirty minutes like a blind bat. Even with the tutorials in place (in small obscurely placed dialogue boxes, mind you) I found myself lost numerous times. Sometimes even in searching for the tutorial hints.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Dark Rose Valkyrie (PS4)

IFI rarely ever branches off from their mainstay Neptunia series features. Their battle mechanics usually adhere to similar setups as does their animation style. While "Dark Rose Valkyrie" is unique in regards to the studio's staple animations, and stories it too harbors similarities with some of IFI's previous games. I think there's a little bit of "Omega Quintet" thrown in alongside some "Hyperdimension Neptunia" influence. Dare I say it I also think some inspiration was taken from games like Koei Tecmo's, "God Eater". In fact like "God Eater" there is a protagonist within the game recruited into a certain military agency with a unique ability tied to wielding special weapons. Large over-sized experimental weapons called Valkyrie which are to be used against Chimera infected people, and animals. As far as the gameplay goes most of the game has you learning, and earning your role as a commanding officer in the "Special Force Valkyrie" unit under the leadership of ACID (Anti-Chimera Interception Division) while taking on missions in relations to the Chimera virus threat. As a commanding officer who has an ability which enables him to wield the new weaponized technology you must effectively boost troop morale, and trust while completing the objectives given to you by your own commanding officer. This is done through headquarters interactions, and through mission outings that are kind of like what the Neptunia series has set in stone. Not only that, but there is at one point an infected subordinate who must be found in order to save the world. This will require a deeper understanding of the cast of characters, and attention to detail.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Demons Crystals (PS4)

BadLand Games' "Demons Crystals" fairly earns it's five dollar asking price. It's a classic arcade style shoot 'em up with a sort of Halloween theme going on. Centered around a story involving Urican demons, and the invasion of their world by three demonic overlords the game takes the gamer on a single, and multiplayer adventure filled with bright neon lighting, bullet hell encounters, and three unique modes of play. Either alone, or in the company of friends gamers can enjoy this wave based shmup in the guise of four different color coded Uricans as they face the hordes of the demonic armies before them, and the overlords themselves. Included in the package deal is an "Arcade Mode", a local "Multiplayer" with six game types, and a "Survival" mode for besting that highest leaderboard score. Some of the modes can be played alone while others are meant to be played via the oldschool couch co-op option.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

INJUSTICE 2 ~ Day One Impressions

This following impressions article is going to take in account only part of the "INJUSTICE 2" experience as I've yet to spend enough time with all of the features to give any definitive rating, or assessment. I will however go over my thoughts on the new mechanics, the application of the base mechanics, the functionality of the controller in-game as well as my thoughts about the online. I'll even, on a spoiler free level, go over my thoughts of the story ...

RIVE (PS4)

Two Tribe's "RIVE" is one of those indie experiences that wants to be everything. It wants to pay homage to the great classics like 'Gradius', duplicate retro experiences like 'Tetris', and sarcastically embody the AI versus test subject relationship that was presented in "Portal". Despite these obvious nods the game at heart is a Metroidvania in the 2.5D platforming sense mixed with transitional phases that apply shmup style gameplay. As the redneck hacker protagonist, 'Roughshot' you enter a seemingly derelict spaceship inside your spider tank only to find it still operational, and under the command of an AI drone named, Daryl Lloyd Lancaster (DLL). Once the main character meets this obnoxious droid, and finds that he is doomed to rinse, and repeat the trial by fire set before him he makes it his end goal to destroy the ship, and escape. DLL has other plans though, and through a warp device, and defense robots he keeps the roughneck spider tank piloting space trucker from doing what it is he has in mind. The ongoing conversations between the pair, and the slapstick conflicts therein are constantly sarcastic in nature setting a proper tone for the mission based campaign that acts as a means to unlock everything else there is to unlock in this highly unusual game.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

SFV ~ The Problem That is Ed

Let us talk about the glaring pink elephant in the room. The pink elephant that is Ed from Street Fighter V. After hearing online that Ed wasn't going to adhere to Capcom's standards for motion inputs I was intrigued. I thought maybe Ed was going to be an interesting game changer. A character who might influence future fighting game character designs for the better. That is until I found out simply pressing combinations of face buttons without directional motions would deliver instant specials, supers, and ultras. The problem with that is this. There are modded controllers for both the PS4, and PC with single button mapping functions. There are also controller adapters with single button mapping capabilities built in. Devices which can have such special attacks mapped to a single button press. As a result cheesing, and exploiting the already highly exploitable Ed is much easier done. It's as if he was built for this very purpose.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy

From "Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy" to "Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy" not much has changed. That which has changed, and been added onto though is significant enough in it's own right. This time around you'll find a new story arch following the CPD's, and Xth Squad's joint involvement in a new case surrounding a  mysterious giant embryo that has manifested via an abyss above the 20XX version of Tokyo. You'll also find much more in the way of squad customization, and a couple of new mechanics that are thrown into the game to beef up gameplay. The experience, at it's core, is one of the classic dungeon crawling variety, and features many of the same characters and creatures that you've encountered in the previous installment. The biggest difference among those encounters being the introduction of you as an entirely new Code Riser, and Xth Squad recruit. As the new man, woman, or gender varied individual you'll be taking your squad members of various roles and character classes into abyss labyrinths to deal with variant threats while investigating the happenings surrounding the embryo phenomenon. You can make the experience at hand as personal, or as strictly basic as you like. Either way the game features a lot of content, and plenty of hours worth of tasks to take on as you solve the latest mystery, and face an omnipotent force that thinks your destiny is that of extinction.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Last Stitch Goodnight

Back in 2011 when I was busy covering indies on the Xbox 360 I had the pleasure of playing through one of the most memorable games of the XBLIG library. That game being Well Bred Rhino's "All the Bad Parts". It featured a unique style of animation that included 2D character creations done up in a jointed puppet style, and placed within interactive 3D backgrounds. That game like the "Last Stitch Goodnight" embodied narrative driven room by room exploration accomplished through interesting textual conversations, accompanying Charlie Brown inspired voice-overs, and a combat system that acted as a means to fight off the otherworldly threats at hand. The developer's dive into the unknown, and unusual kept me playing through that first game nonstop until I reached the climactic end finally finishing the story. It was the same for this latest game as well, but to a slightly different degree. As far as said recent game playthrough goes I was not disappointed in the slightest with the direction Well Bred Rhino's modern horror inspired Metroidvania took as it once again brilliantly tackled the enigma of life and death through the imagination of one of the most creative developers ever to grace the indie scene. It was a rare journey through a strange world with a complex, and well thought narrative. One that harbors an air of creepiness, 4th wall breaking, and genuine concern for the direction modern science is taking. That, and a nod to gender politics ...

Monday, May 8, 2017

Gaming, Kids & Parental Obligation

Before you jump to conclusions thinking I'm going to say that gaming is the root of all violent behavior, or bad behavior in general rest assured that I'm not. This is a discussion about the problem with parents pacifying kids with things like video games. It's also going to be about parents who follow up harshly with discipline afterwards blaming the resulting problems on everything else, but themselves ...

Growing up in a household of three sisters, and two brothers I was offered a lot in the way of imaginative play time without the need for constant access to computers, video games, or even movies. I read books, played outside, drew, and tended to my school work when it was required of me to do so. While I can't say I was the most well behaved child in those early years I was never lacking for attention from my parents, my siblings, or my friends, because we were all a part of a proper social upbringing. It was the way of life back then. Sadly, when it comes to the family unit these days though such close knit relationships are often times hard to find. Parents are busy working to pay bills, and kids are either left on their own to do for themselves what needs to be done, or are babysat by the boob tube, internet, or video games. In comparison to today's family infrastructure life in the 70's - 80's wasn't as online oriented, and distracting as it is now. We weren't all in our own little worlds doing our own things while trying to escape the cruel world around us via the internet. In fact social entertainment based tech devices weren't as commonplace back then as they are in current times. People weren't glued to their smartphones, and what gaming was done was both innocent, sociable, and without online interactivity. Gaming within families was also more of a reward for doing good in school, or in other work related activities. Unless you were spoiled by rich parents ...

Friday, May 5, 2017

Birthdays the Beginning (PS4)


birthdays beginning logo
Blending the theories of creationism, and evolution TOYBOX Inc. creator Yasuhiro Wada (Harvest Moon) brings to gaming a somewhat scientific look at the process in which life on a simple to grand scale is birthed, maintained, and managed. Through a brief tale involving a grandchild's fascination with their grandfather's library of books, and the discovery of an otherworldly presence via a map contained therein the developer draws you into gameplay that is both episodic, and uniquely rewarding should you grasp the mechanics at hand. Given an alien avatar to represent your personal being you are ultimately tasked with birthing from a blank slate life itself beginning with the early aquatic stages of simple celled organisms all the way to the Jurassic era where dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and beyond. Guided by Navi, your navigational partner in time, you will change the terrain in unison with temperature through elevation tweaks while throwing in gathered items of intervention to help push along the evolutionary process as time is forced by in cube years. As a god would you will visit the cube world via your avatar persona to influence growth, and change while occasionally returning to an outside point of view to speed up time, and help your applied efforts along. Thus witnessing in their dawn the birthdays of each organism brought to life by your influential additions to an ecosystem that changes at your will, and accordingly so.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Hobby Highlight (April 2017)

Anime / Manga


Anime, and manga have been around longer than you may think. In fact the earliest Japanese animation dates back to 1917 in a commercialized form. It wasn't until the 1960's though that the anime style we know, and appreciate today emerged via the talent of Osamu Tezuka. Since it's early entries anime has evolved into various presentations including that of the theatrical releases, at home viewings, and on the web streaming experiences. Through it's ever growing popularity it has also spawned merchandise of different sorts including high end, and low end series related merchandise, collectibles, and even sub-genres of anime that range from child friendly to adult only. While not all anime makes it across the globe due to censorship reasons viewers from all allowing nations can usually view their favorite anime with fan provided subtitle translations on the internet keeping the original voice-overs, and their accompanying range of emotions intact for a more genuine experience.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

RTK13: Fame and Strategy Expansion Pack Bundle (PS4)

This seventy dollar bundle is a nightmare for a simpleton gamer like myself to comprehend, but more than likely a blessing for those of you who are into, and fully understand historical strategy simulators. Supposing you are the latter type of gamer you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that Koei Tecmo's team spared absolutely no expense in regards to the presentation that coincides with the periodic happenings of the continued, 'Romancing of the Three Kingdoms" saga, and that with the accompanying DLC expansion the features are even more bountiful than they were initially. There's plenty of CG cutscenes to enjoy, modes of play to play through, and a new Fame system to benefit your favorite officers. Officers like the infamous Lu Bu who are included in all their glory and grandeur via their Dynasty Warriors, and Samurai Warriors likeness. Not only do you get all of that, but you can also create detailed events which you can then upload, and share with others across the globe. Events which can be as creative, and fan fictiony as you wish. As far as the core game goes your engagements will take you from the 'Yellow Turban Rebellion" forward through a hundred plus year span of political, and diplomatic turmoil in which you'll ultimately be tasked with micro-managing your given resources, your officer underlings, and the civilian populous under your guard.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds (PS VITA)



When I first began playing "Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds" something seemed oddly familiar about it. I knew I had seen the plot, and the characters before somewhere. It's at that time of recollection that I realized I had actually reviewed Aksys Games' version of the same game on the PS3 several years back. In comparison to that version of the game this version of the Hakuoki story seems to be more streamlined in delivery, but actually half of the game that "Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi" was. In fact the press release for 'Kyoto Winds' states that this is the first half of a two part tale. Why IFI chose to divide it up is beyond me, but I suppose memory space does have something to do with it. Regardless of that, this trip down memory lane, and the realization that I'm once again playing through the same game I still found intact the admiration I found the first time around. In my first review I had actually discussed how the game was geared more towards a feminine crowd, and how it was a nice change for those less inclined to buy the more gender specific types of games. Yes, back in the day I was spouting nonsense about gender bias in the gaming industry. Perhaps I'm the one who got that ball of dung rolling (I hope not though) ... For those of you who missed out on that oldschool Inferno nugget feel free to read up on it here (Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi) as it will mostly mirror what I've got to say about IFI's rendition of Hakuoki ...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Silver Case (PS4)



I, as a gamer have never played any of the games related to 'The Silver Case'. Nor had I played 'The Silver Case' until I got my review copy. Oddly enough though I did unknowingly purchase, for a couple of dollars at the local Gamestop, the third game in the trilogy known as "Flower, Sun, and Rain" for the Nintendo DS a few years back. In fact I paid only $2.69 for it with my discount. It currently sits atop my desk beside my keyboard as I'm typing up this review. A possible photo sharing opportunity being weighed as I continue to type ...

Past the realization that 'The Silver Case" wasn't the standalone game that I thought it was I found myself drawn closely into the narrative that was being spun. A case by case, and individualized series of personal accounts of those involved in a string of incidents involving the reemergence of a serial killer known as Kamui. The story begins thick, and heavy handed with you (a nameless recruit) in the company of the 24th Ward Heinous Crime Unit, within the 24th Ward. You start off on the pursuit of a runaway murderer who has hunkered down in the nearby Cauliflower building. The cat, and mouse chase that follows introduces you to the initially frustrating, and slightly interactive hunt that lets you loose to discover what it is that needs to be done without much in the way of tutorials. The game seems unusually self-aware in this early stage of storytelling at how difficult it's going to be for a new player to understand the ropes of being on the assigned task force (aka the gameplay), and basically says so through the chief inspector's first few displayed texts. Thus is Case #0 in a nutshell.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Rose in the Twilight (PS VITA)

I never thought in my life I'd see such an adorable looking game turn out to be so incredibly macabre. That is exactly what 'A Rose in the Twilight' is like though. It's like a huge ball of cute rolled up with the bloodiest, and darkest tale ever told. A horrific tale meant for mature eyes only. One that has you traveling ever more deeply into a derelict dungeon-like castle in order to solve a mysterious curse that binds you immortally to a life stealing, and life regenerating rose ...

Despite the dark nature of the game 'A Rose in the Twilight' definitely has it's charm, and that charm comes in the form of well crafted gameplay. In the way of mechanics the game has ingenious puzzles placed throughout a sectioned off Metroidvania style locale as well as a partner system involving a Golem that only serves to enhance the puzzle solving requirements that are preventing you from discovering the truth behind your curse. By bleeding out, and refilling the rose on the main character's back you'll create pathways, interact with devices, and even (dare I say it) commit suicide for the sake of advancing the twisted narrative. In a cooperative sense you'll find that in the company of the Golem you'll also be able to get to areas you couldn't have accessed alone as the main character of interest. Along the way you'll even catch theatrical reenactments of other peoples' untimely deaths which in turn will pave the way for even further progress. Completing the game isn't as straightforward as it may seem though. Instead you'll find that through direct map menu travel you can, and will have to backtrack in order to collect the available memories necessary to get beyond the intermittent crystals which act as way points on your journey of discovery. Through additionally gathered scrolls the lore at hand opens up even more in a textual sense via gory details allowing you to better understand the main character's plight. Though short lived, the tale that is told through interactive means on the PS Vita console is one that is not easily forgotten, and is one that will definitely stir up thoughts as you play. That, and some well placed sympathy for the main character who is looking to loose herself from her immortalized body.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

ArmaGallant: Decks of Destiny (PS4)

Taking inspiration from games like 'League of Legends', 'Hearthstone', and even 'Magic the Gathering' the game that is 'ArmaGallant: Decks of Destiny' heads to consoles at a budget price along with it's fair share of downsides. For around twenty dollars you can get into this server based, and champion focused card game hybrid in order to grind away for the ultimate deck in hopes of reigning supreme on the game's non-existent leaderboard. The 1v1 and 2v2 centered experience that is offered in-game is seemingly inviting at first, but through the mixed mechanics it quickly becomes a repetitive, and short lived series of fights to merely rid your opposition of collective team health. An objective which is made possible by quick troop switching via shoulder button shortcuts, and a card selection system that is just as quickly applied. The problem therein lies with the fact that the objective steals the thunder from the champions, card art, and summoned creature units. The end goal that is life depletion is such a focal point that you hardly get to enjoy any of these things. In my opinion the overly simplistic yet dominant goal coupled with the hectic mechanic management dooms this game's chances from the start. It's very hard to enjoy the game when you are managing two attention thieving systems of gameplay while constantly switching focus between them.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hobby Highlight ~ March 2017 (ARCHIVE)

COMIC BOOKS


From the golden age of comics to the modern day collectors have stuck by this artistic, and story inclusive hobby regardless of it's ups and downs. Starting at a lowly 5 cents a copy back in your great grandfather's days to the costly $5 printings of today comic books have evolved in both offerings, and value. The birth of indies, the introduction of TPB (Trade Paperbacks) / HC (Hard Covers), and cover art variations being of the more notable changes throughout the history of the collectible. Some of us like the more niche indies while faithful fans of the past stick by heroes, and heroines who have withstood the test of time. Hyped up by special story driven events including the death of characters, and sometimes the rebirth of the same it's hard not to get caught up in the collecting frenzy that is as varied as it is in the world of comic books. Some of us hoard our collections for future value while others love to read through the pages within, and enjoy the art that makes each story pop.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wonder Boy Returns (PS4)

Charm, chivalry, and cuteness is what 'Wonder Boy Returns" is all about. This Sega classic about an island native, and his hurt love interest is redone and retold by CFK in a way that carries with it the retro goodness of the original games while adding in improved HD cartoon-like graphics to boost it's attractiveness. Though challenging, and simplistic at the same time 'Wonder Boy Returns', and it's accompanying two main modes of play will no doubt have your eyes glued to the screen as you attempt to perfect playthroughs, and obtain the highest score possible. It is, at heart a vividly portrayed high scoring experience in which you'll have to collect food items in order to ward of the new boy's insane calorie burning metabolism all while tossing your tomahawk at enemies that appear in your way along the way. Obstacles are plentiful, and the pitfalls of usual 2D platforming are included to make your stage by stage trek to save your beloved Tina all the more perilous. The main threat of all though being the devilish fiend who has stolen Tina from you in the midst of a heated lover's quarrel.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Anoxemia (PS4)

Anoxemia, at it's core is a story driven sci-fi horror adventure which takes place in the oxygen deprived depths of the ocean blue. Much like it's title word's meaning the protagonist you play as finds himself without a constant oxygen supply, and a seemingly resulting foggy memory that only has him remembering his end goal as he goes forward into the unknown. The game itself is an unusual experience that follows, in a light 2D Metroidvania fashion, the confusing journey of a man named Dr. Bailey as he dives ever more deeply into the haunting abyss of the acidic ocean on a supposedly straightforward mission to collect plant life specimens for Naval research. Little background on the doctor is given initially through the accompanying comic book style art panels, the repetitive voice acting, and the textual dialogue other than the fact that he thinks he was aboard a Naval carrier that sank, and that his intended mission was to gather contaminated plants for research as mentioned before. With a limited oxygen supply, an assisting underwater drone named ATMA, and the obtainable tools and resources made oddly and abundantly available among the darkened terrain you must guide Dr.Bailey deeper downward in order to find out the truth of why it is he is doing what he is despite not really knowing why.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Toukiden 2 (REVIEW)

Toukiden 2, the successor to 'Toukiden Kiwami is by far a vast improvement on the ground work laid out by it's predecessors. Everything Kiwami, and the first game did Toukiden 2 does better. The game features a more fleshed out story, more fleshed out characters, and an overall more fleshed out experience. From the intricate character customization to the plentiful new features Toukiden 2 offers something that series faithfuls, and new fans alike can be proud to own. It is a beautiful overhaul of a game series that wasn't all that bad to begin with.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Freedom Planet (PS4)

For those of you who have not yet seen the trailer, or researched "Freedom Planet" online via the official website it is a retro experience created by the collective efforts of the 'GalaxyTrail' team. A retro experience that borrows some features from a couple of well known retro game series. Namely that of 'Sonic the Hedgehog', and 'Mega Man'. As one of three animal-like characters you will take on an intergalactic alien warlord named Brevon who is out to steal a sacred energy source for his own diabolical means. The game begins with Brevon invading one of three interconnected kingdoms, and straight up beheading the king before brainwashing the king's son who just so happens to be the successor to the throne. All for political influence, and personal gain. Elsewhere in Fantasia (Sorry, couldn't help it) ... Lilac the purple dragon, and Carol the green wildcat deal with their own set of problems. A chance encounter with an alien disguised as a turtle duck who is out to stop Brevon from stealing the "World Stone". Their crossed paths lead to even more interesting character related encounters along the way which drive the story forward through the accompanying voice-acting efforts, and textual dialogue. As either Lilac, or Carol (initially) you will use your abilities to speed through the levels sonic style while collecting power-ups, minding your health, and fighting the bad bosses that lie in wait at the end of every run through.

88 Heroes (REVIEW)

Do you know what today is? It's "88 Heroes" day!!! The day '88 Heroes' hits the PSN store! For those of you who have not read my preview article on the game you'll find that '88 Heroes' is a fast paced pixel platformer that incorporates the number 88 into it's gameplay in various ways. The story, which is short in nature involves an alien threat known as Dr.H8 who is threatening the Earth with total destruction via 88 nuclear warheads from outer space. His ultimatum includes a demand for 88 quadrillion dollars by a deadline of 88 minutes, or the impending doom will become a harsh reality. Unfortunately for Earth the regular heroes are busy elsewhere, so they send in 88 hero wannabes in their place. Everything from a an ominous hamster in a ball to a basketball player will have to use their odd abilities or lack thereof to traverse 88 stages filled with varying enemy, and non-enemy related obstacles in 88 minutes in order to face off against Dr.H8 in a final battle. Needless to say the fate of the world lies in the hands, paws, tentacles, or whatever of these 88 misfits.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Toukiden 2 ~ Impressions Thus Far

Hi guys, and gals! Uncle Brad is dealing with some possible technical issues regarding 'Toukiden 2', and those issues seem to be demo related ... but I could be wrong. While I'm waiting to hear back from KT's PR about the matter I thought I'd go ahead, and let you know what I know thus far into my playthrough. In the immortal words of Mario, "Here we go!" ...

Toukiden 2, from what I can tell, builds completely on what the foundations of the original game, and follow up expanded version set in stone. The main differences this time being the story's setup, the location our hero winds up in, a new demon hand mechanic, and a new take on the Mitama system. As before you'll start the game by creating a male, or female slayer. A customization process which is one of the most detailed Koei Tecmo has created yet, especially in the Toukiden series. You can basically fine tune all of the physical features including that of the face, torso, chest, legs, and even some cosmetic options that add a bit of flair to your initially basic character. Along with that you'll be able to name your character as you see fit with spaces included as an option. No more needing to use an underscore or dash to express your naming creativity. When you are through you'll be swept away via cutscene into the heat of battle alongside Kuyo, and his troop. This all takes place in Yokohama in the midst of an ongoing war against invading Oni. Much like before. Apparently the events herein take place after that of Kiwami in the northern region of Japan though. Upon completing the basic tutorial within this section of gameplay, and fighting against a towering Oni Brutebeast you'll be sucked through a spatial Oni Gate ten years into the future, and far to the west of where you were at to begin with.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe (PS4)

From what I gather, after having sampled and played through each of the game's features it seems that FK Digital's "Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe" is merely an enhanced upgrade of the PS3 release of Chaos Code. Everything from the opening cinematic to the menu system as well as the modes of play, and even the visuals have been upgraded for a PS4 worthy experience. Something that's not all that different from BlazBlue or Guilty Gear in terms of in-game offerings. At the twenty dollar range it's not all that bad either. It's definitely more complete, and more robust in content. The only thing lacking this time around is the participation of the online community for the competitive online portion of the game ...

For those of you new to the 'Chaos Code' mythology it basically follows the scientific discovery of an abundant new energy source. This energy source was discovered, and harnessed by Arthur Tesla. For years it helped the world maintain prosperity for all of mankind. The problem that presented itself in this time of prosperity though came in the form of Arthur's cryptic message involving a mysterious, "Chaos Code". Upon discovery of it's mention the Earth-Union, or world government sought it out for their own power hungry desires while others joined in, in a competition heralded by Arthur himself who encouraged others to find it. This is where the odd roster of characters steps in. Each with their own motivations for acquiring the 'Chaos Code'. Some want it selfishly while others want it for a cause or for someone else who has their own ideas on what to do with the enigmatic source of power. As with most fighting games it's an all out battle of the fittest in which your chosen character will face omnipotent evil at the end of an arduous adventure.