Friday, November 17, 2017

.HACK//G.U. Last Recode (PS4)

The reemergence of ".HACK//G.U." on the PS4 is a welcome sight, especially for a guy like me who missed out the first time around. It is a complete reissue that holds up quite nicely to today's quality standards, and includes the entire series in upscaled graphics along with some bonus content for a less than retail pricing in an impressively polished package. The series as a whole does what anime and games like "Sword Art Online" do, but in a much more intelligent and mature manner. Dare I say a darker manner. The series as a whole encompasses an ever changing virtual world in which a protagonist known as Haseo faces moral dilemma, and real world threats that impact the lives of those engaged in the ongoing ordeal. The journey is one that harkens back to an earlier state of internet social media when forums and email interactions were in a more primitive state. Through a mock OS interface, and dives into the virtual world the game touches base on current world technological advances and the concerns therein. All while discussing the nature of online freedoms, the policing of online and offline social interactions as well the ramifications that something as seemingly harmless as an online video game can have on real world society.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

PS4 DualShock 4 Controller (REVIEW)

I feel this review needed to be done. Since the launch, and my purchase of the PS4 console I've had to buy 3 Sony brand controllers at the ridiculous price of $64 each. The controller that came with the console seemed to last the longest while one I bought on the side for local co-op use lasted a couple of months, or less. The third even less than that. The fact of the matter is these new technologically sophisticated controllers are more poorly made than last-gen's PS3 controllers. It's as if they were made to be a malfunctioning cash cow product for Sony to milk. There is no reason whatsoever that controller such as the PS4 DualShock 4 should cost a third of the price of a PS4 console. Nor is there a reason it should break so easily. There's no excuse for it. The fact that $15 PS3 controllers have a longer lifespan than a PS4 reflects this reality. The truth in this will ultimately be revealed on December 31st of this year when Hori releases their budget priced PS4 mini controller that does away with the touch pad, and adds three center buttons that operate in a similar manner. My only problem with the mini controller is that it will not have a port for a headset which again feels like a way for Sony to continue having their monopoly on the PS4 controller market with no other viable options made available at a reasonable price.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Demon Gaze II (PS4)

While NISA's "Demon Gaze II" isn't the profound spectacle that a lot of their mainstay titles are it possesses a simpler charm that incorporates a mixture of first-person dungeon crawling, and interactive storytelling to great effect. Two elements which come together quite nicely in a not so overbearing, or chaotic kind of way. The story this time around which is fairly much standalone in itself leans only a little on the previous game, and uses the lore of the established Demon Gazer as a means to set the stage for the fight against a tyrant who is burning up the souls of the citizenry for star power in order to build up an army of subservient demons. The game opens up abruptly throwing a lot of confusing conversation pieces at you, but as you play onward your created character's role in the plot is made known. As it turns out you were a revolutionist who was a part of a revolutionary party that was trying to overthrow Asteria's current ruler, Lord Magnastar. Before the game even began your character was abducted by an unknown individual, and bestowed with the power of the Demon Gaze. A power that allows you to capture demons in your eye, and control them. Upon rescue by your comrades you, and your amnesia stricken self are brought back to Stella's Place. An HQ of sorts, and base of operations for the previously mentioned revolution. A place where your memory, and purpose will slowly return as the fight before you is engaged ...

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Way of Redemption (PS4)

Pixel Cream releases what should have been, in all due respect, a free to play game. It is filled with an obvious drive to make more cash beyond the initial sales price, and doesn't shy away from promoting the extra paid for options at the main menu listing with little in the way of incentive for paying up or even playing for the offered rewards. Not only that, but it is in all accounts laid out like a free to play game. The game in question, "Way of Redemption", is at base level a hybrid of the hero MOBA genre and table hockey or volleyball sports genres. It features seven different mythological, and futuristically fabricated heroes/heroines battling for redemption with more to come, supposedly. It has online league play as well as 1v1, and 2v2 battles in both offline and online format. The catch being that online co-op can't be partaken of on the same console.

As with most free to play games of this build you'll also find in place the ill-advised cross-play between PS4 and PC. Something that is only in place to build up a community for money making sake without consideration of the ramifications for inviting two server based communities that cannot be cross-moderated. A community is also something this game does not seem to have, regardless. At heart "Way of Redemption" is a game with a backstory never fully realized, and only hinted at through team names (Revenge & Salvation), brief mythology bios, and a scrolling caption at the bottom of the main menu screen that discloses the reward for winning is the cleansing of your sins. The experience is peppered with the usual microtransaction options, loot chests, and minimalist mechanics/features that are glamorized through a fairly decent visual presentation.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Well ... CoD WWII Got Good

After my candy coated meltdown about CoD WWII being an abomination, and bastardization of a pivotal war in human history I logged back into the game to find it did a near 180. As if on cue the developers fixed two of the main issues I was complaining about. The loading times are greatly improved, and you can now back out of matchmaking after a match. The whole matchmaking bit looks entirely new for some odd reason, and it is itself a huge improvement over what once was. So, adding back in a little of that maple syrup flavored sweetness I think the game is alright now, albeit with the inclusion of the usual community tampering. The experience is probably more along the lines of an "8/10" at this point, and that is me still tacking on the historical inaccuracies I mentioned in the previous write up. The whole diversity for diversity sake BS. I close with a slow congratulatory hand clap from yours truly to those at Sledgehammer. Way to pick yourself up out of the trenches, and soldier on!

Why CoD WWII Sucks PeePee

Honesty can come in different varieties. Kind of like candy. It can be hot as hell, lip puckering sour, hard as a rock, tongue twistingly tart, or sweet like maple syrup. The honesty in this particular review is going to be brutally sour like the worst sort of lemon you've ever dared to put to your mouth. The experience has left a rather bitter taste on my gaming palette, and I need to say some not so nice things about the game ...

When I first began playing CoD WWII I saw a small glimmer (Destiny, lol!) of hope that was quickly dashed to bits on the included virtual beach of Normandy by two glaringly obvious problems. For one thing the loading times were on par with dial-up internet. I'm not even joking. The game's loading screens take the longest time loading of any game I've ever played on modern consoles. Last generation, and this generation. It's as if the think tank at Sledgehammer and Activision thought they could push sales of the Pro PS4 console, and Xbox One X by making loading times so horrendously inferior to the OG consoles. Despite having arguably the best graphics in a CoD game to date ( even on the OG consoles) there is still no excuse for the lengthy loading times. Even Bloodborne, and Dark Souls load quicker than this piece of horse shit, and they present way more environmental details than CoD WWII does. There's no excuse for it.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut (PS4)

Blue Wizard Digital's horror themed isometric puzzle game is a hilarious homage to the horror movie classics of old. Particularly those of the 80's back when VHS tapes were a thing, and sneaking a late night peek at you parent's secretive viewing of such films was the cool thing to do. Featuring nods to some of everyone's favorites in both an optionally toned down PG version, and a more sinister R rated version you'll find killers that mimic legends such as Jason Voorhees, Jack Frost, Krampus, and many others. All of which are made playable back at the main menu which is set up like a movie rental store with related killer figures, and VHS covers that double as in-game features. It is the VHS tapes in particular that act as the stage sets which must be conquered through puzzle solving. The goal of the puzzles therein, which can be viewed isometrically, or top-down has the killer in your control at all times. You simply have to move him, or her via sliding, and guide them against barriers or walls into the victims, interactive objects, and triggered traps in order to ultimately rid the residents of the stages of their mortal coil. These murderous missions allow for rewinding, pausing, and fast-forwarding much like a VHS tape playing in a VCR would ...

Monday, October 23, 2017

Yomawari: Midnight Shadows (PS4)



Just in time for Halloween 2017 NISA releases perhaps one of it's most chilling, disturbing, and heartfelt adventures ever created for the PS4, and PS Vita. This innocent looking hide, and seek focused tale told about two childhood friends lost to the darkness, and to their own life's misfortunes finds the youthful protagonists trying to reunite amid a haunting of ghoulish ghosts that are out for blood. The game starts off holding no punches as it introduces us to Yui, a depressed young girl who lost one of her canine companions to an untimely death. It is through a brief controlling of Yui that we get to witness the full horror of her depression as it drives her to do the unspeakable, and leave her remaining canine friend alone. At least seemingly so. After this heartbreaking hands-on breakdown by one of the main characters the game shifts swiftly to it's core gameplay focus in which Yui, and Haru are joining each other in the mountains as planned to watch the seasonal Summer fireworks. Perhaps a sort of flashback, or dream state? Whatever the case may be it is in this moment that they share via conversation the fact that Yui is concerned deeply with Haru's forced moving from their neighborhood. Haru unsuccessfully tries to comfort her, and assure her that they'll be together forever. Shortly thereafter on their way back home though their intended dreams for the future together are abruptly shattered when Yui encounters a spirit in the woods that spirits her away from her friend. Haru who was hiding at the advice of her friend prior to the ghostly encounter eventually goes searching for her only finding more questions than answers. This is where things really begin to get scary ...

Thursday, October 19, 2017

ELEX ~ The Verdict

Pirahna Bytes' game, "ELEX" is a sight to behold, and a well narrated journey filled to the brim with the utmost attention to detail. You'll find that Magalan, the home world which all of the post-apocalyptic factions are fighting in, and where the game takes place is a beautifully rendered place enriched with tons of lively characters to talk to as well as unique locations that vary according to the residing population. The protagonist, or anti-hero of the tale who starts the story off seems to step in midway into the upheaval of each factional society, and is made an outcast who must make allies before he can exact revenge on those who wronged him. His adventure is of the open world sort, and gives the player controlling his actions, and reactions free reign on whatever tasks they wish to take on. When it comes to said tasks, or quests Jax (the anti-hero) must prioritize his objectives in order to better prepare himself for the fights ahead. This entails earning currency to buy equipment, as well as completing quests to rank up among your chosen faction to learn their skills, and improve upon your strengths via RPG stat upgrades.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

ELEX ~ A Preview Review

It is launch day for ELEX, and honestly I've just scratched the surface of this 50+ hour game. I can't give it a final verdict yet as I've not played enough of it to see if it is worth the asking price. I can, however give you my thoughts on what I've experienced so far ...

ELEX, at heart is a post-apocalyptic action RPG with a warring factions theme. As the cast out protagonist of the Albs, a power hungry faction that is greedy for the newly introduced element Elex, you find yourself doing the dirty work for various other factions in order to get revenge on those who did you wrong, and stole from you. The other factions such as the Clerics, the Berserkers, and the Outlaws were each effected differently by the new element that was introduced via an asteroid, and each utilize the alien gift for a survival advantage. Some were corrupted while others learned to harness the energy source in different ways. The Berserkers, for example turned the Elex into a mana source which gave them magic powers. The Clerics were able to use Elex for technological advancements while the Albs were able to infuse Elex into their bodies to become more powerful. Those corrupted by the addiction of Elex though were eventually transformed into mutants, and became enemies of all.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset Review ... A Cash Suck!?

As a game reviewer I accept constructive criticism. I like to know if what I'm doing is good, and whether or not you'd like to see change. On the flipside of that I cannot stand being called a liar, or biased without without evidence that I am. I bring this up, because some anonymous reader posted a comment on my headset review stating that he/she/it was thinking that this site, or perhaps my review of the headset was a "Cash Suck". Implying that I was sucking corporate !@#$% for monetary or lucrative reasons. The fact is that I sought out Kingston's headset for review to review something different. That is all. I was trying to add variety to my blog. Sure, Kingston provided the headset for review, and I did kind of favor it, but in no way did I not say what the headset had to offer. I personally ended up liking the headset even more past the critique making it one of my all-time favorite gaming headsets. I still use it to this day, years after the review was posted. If anything this is a testament to the headset's good quality, and long life span. I have dropped, and broken loose an ear piece, but was able to put it right back on. I have also dropped the volume adjuster numerous times, and it still works. I have even bent the fool out of the adjustable mic, and it still gets the job done. In fact the headset is, in my opinion, still the best headset I've ever used. That is a fact.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pitching A Tent ... er, I Mean Idea

I know. It's a click bait title, but hear me out. I have an idea regarding my work here. I want to review more games, and with PR becoming less and less interested in providing review copies my posts could suffer big time. My idea is sort of a trade off between me, and you ... my readers. If you felt like helping out you could purchase PSN Store Cards, and give me the codes so I could purchase and review the new digital game releases each week. Your reward would be a mention in my review at the very first paragraph as well as promotion of any links you wish to share at the end of said post. This would be posted permanently on this blog, and in a Youtube gameplay video on my channel as well as shared on Twitter during a weekend. As long as the sites are live and I'm on there, of course. It's all up to you though. I'd say a $20 PSN Store Card would get you all three site mentions, and a $10 would earn you a place on this blog, and possibly Youtube as well. I'm even entertaining the idea of also letting you do a guest review of any game you choose (through email), and posting that here. That would be a top tier trade along with the trio of site mentions for a higher priced PSN Card. Anyways, that's the idea in a nutshell. Please let me know what you think about it, and if it's something you might deem worthwhile.

Where To Find Me When I'm Not Here ...

As 2017 draws to a close, and the struggle to get review material becomes more prevalent you'll find me turning my attention to a few other internet outlets where I share my thoughts on various things. Aside from my gaming blog I'm a Twitter regular (@OtakuDante). I'm often on there catching up with friends while sharing wisdom, and talking about industry happenings that matter to me. I've also started paying more attention to my Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/otakudante) which houses my Twitch streams, and gameplay videos of a decent variety. It's well organized for easy browsing should you wish to pay it a visit. For those who have ever wanted to join me in some PS4 gaming I am open to invites when I'm alone, not reviewing a game, and not in a chat. My PSN ID is "OtakuDante1134". Accept no substitutes.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

An Old Japanese Tale About A Samurai Quoted by *CRITICAL CONDITION*, an Excerpt From Daniel Goleman's "Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ"

Daniel Goleman, the author of "Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ" talked of an old Japanese tale regarding a samurai seeking answers in regards to heaven & hell from a zen master. The samurai's agitation, and angered response towards the non-responsive monk during the seeking of wisdom was, in the monk's eyes "hell". When the samurai calmed his rage, and sheathed his sword upon learning from his badly influenced feelings he was told that, that response was "heaven". As Critical Condition of Youtube said we too often let our emotions take over, and corrupt any intelligent response that might have taken place in it's stead. This is a balancing act that many intellectuals struggle with, even myself. That balance being the balance between feeling, and thinking clearly. If what we say in shared wisdom is clouded by good feelings, or bad feelings the feelings we share so intelligently can ultimately corrupt an intelligent point being made.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (PS4)

For those of you new to the Neptunia games they are a part of a JRPG gaming series created by Compile Heart, and Tamsoft. Each of the adventures, and even the spin-off entries included in the line-up which are published by Idea Factory Intl. incorporate a lore that mimics, makes fun of, and pokes at the real life gaming industry happenings. Whether it be related to content creators or the gaming community the mostly all girl cast of characters playfully make you think deeply of each aspect of the gaming industry while they deal with their own lighthearted in-game engagements against foe, and friend. The main characters including Neptune, Blanc, Vert, Noire, Nepgear, Uni, Rom, Ram, and a whole host of other characters based on gaming console companies, and PR among other things hail as the CPU goddesses of their respective Gameindustri nations as well as characters of related interest. Usually fighting over Gameindustri shares via all out battles, or saving their nations from certain doom inflicted by a threat of various evil entities the Gameindustri gals steal your heart with their charm, and sometimes lewd antics.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pinball FX3 ~ Universal Classics (PS4)

Over the years, and throughout the various genres of film making Universal Studios has brought to us some of the most memorable moments in entertainment. From the black & white monster movies of old to the 80's epics such as the ones this pinball DLC exhibits we've been taken in by the nostalgia born thereof as well as the modern day masterpieces that continue to be made in a similar vein, and focus. It is no surprise in light of Universal's longstanding reputation that Zen Studios jumped on board with them to create a new pinball table tribute to their already well established franchises. I think, for the most part the themed choices were well picked, but that some of them were executed more impressively than others. The "Back to the Future" trilogy inclusive table itself sets a new precedent with more interactive features than any other table before it. The "JAWS" table, while mildly representative in it's presentation in regards to the rated "R" source material still holds true the maneater, and iconic sailor who eventually lost his life in an attempt to kill the beast. Lastly, the "E.T." table does good in representing every memorable aspect of the film outside of that one censored brotherly insult (P**** Breath) spouted early on in the film, and understandably so.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pinball FX3 (PS4)

The years 2007 through 2017 have been quite the journey for famed pinball developer Zen Studios. They've grown with the times creating, and innovating along the way while producing impressive results. They took chances with intellectual properties outside of their Zen Pinball, and Pinball FX brands at times branching out into VR gaming as well as into actual pinball table creation among other things. They've gone that extra mile to say the least. That's why it took me by surprise when I found out the studio was going to change their signature pinball setup. After what seems like ages since the last released Zen Pinball 2 tables I read about the soon-to-be released Pinball FX3. About it being more about the gamer, and more multiplayer oriented, or focused than ever before. A goal the studio obviously had in mind from the beginning.

Looking back I can kind of understand why the developer chose to go this route. Though the early iterations of their pinball franchise were praised by journalists, and created by their development staff with the utmost attention to detail the new video game releases outside of Zen Studio's company were stealing gamers' attention as new games tend to do. I knew this for a while now as I too migrated from new game to new game looking for my next video game fix. It never was that the pinball tables they produced were boring, or bad, but that new gaming experiences stole my attention. A gaming issue that plagues many indecisive gamers. Thankfully the crew at Zen Studios decided to not let their legacy fall to the wayside ...

Monday, September 25, 2017

Hidden Dragon Legend (PS4)

Potential. Unrealized potential. That's what I think of when I think of, "Hidden Dragon Legend". It had all the hallmarks of a proper action platforming experience, and even borrowed some alternative genre mechanics for combat to a somewhat impressive effect, but failed miserably at storytelling and character building. It gave the player the most basic of plots, albeit a bit choppy and rushed. A plot which held little weight in comparison to the actual in-game platforming, and puzzle solving. That, and the overall visual presentation which was definitely more than indie. What ended up being most frustrating out of all that though was the fact that the combat which was a key feature of the game wasn't as refined as it should have been for a final product. Combos from the makeshift fighting game setup often times did not reflect the required button presses shown in the games training mode. Extra button presses were often required to meet combo requirements, and even in in-game battles the additional skill features would sometimes fail to activate even though the meter for them to be used was filled. It's things like this that make me feel Oasis Games could have spent more time making a more complete, and flawless experience worth buying. Sadly, they did not though ...

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash (PS4)

If you like bouncy busty anime gals having fun with squirt guns then this latest Senran Kagura adventure might be for you. If however you are easily offended by censorship, or are a feminist you might not enjoy it so much. Personally I found it to be fun though quite perverted. That having been said I am a grown adult male who has seen worse in the way of sexuality, and who can handle adult content without getting butthurt over it. What XSEED, and Marvelous! provides here is mild in comparison to a lot of adult games, and is actually quite fun. The game, as it were features both single player, and multiplayer content with a new RPG card system that adds immense replay value. Returning are all the Shinobi gals from the previous series' entries as well as the mob battles, and character versus character scenarios. They are still with their resident clans, and leaders, but are switching things up with a demon appeasing ceremony of the splashy kind. One that is televised by "NewTube", and hosted by Senran Kagura's equivalent of Team Rocket in the form of Ms.S and Mr. K. The P1-Grand Prix which the girls are forcefully summoned to is in fact a ceremony in the guise of a televised squirt gun based sports event. The victor of the event will get any wish their heart desires, and in the process they'll stop a looming threat. There's wacky hijinks aplenty, and combative gameplay that's fun enough to whet your arena shooter whistle.

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 ...