Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wonder Boy Returns (PS4)

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Anoxemia (PS4)

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

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Toukiden 2 (REVIEW)

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

Friday, March 24, 2017

Freedom Planet (PS4)

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

88 Heroes (REVIEW)

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Toukiden 2 ~ Impressions Thus Far

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

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

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chaos Code: New Sign of Catastrophe (PS4)

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

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Touhou Genso Wanderer + Touhou Double Focus (PS4)

I thought I'd missed something. Leave it to Brad to forget that 'Touhou Double Focus' comes free with a purchase of the 'Touhou Genso Wanderer" standard and limited physical editions. Bad Brad, Bad! Luckily I caught the mistake before the 21st when this game is slated for release. Thank the gods I did. As far as Double Focus goes It's a nice bonus that kind of outplays the quality of the base game, in my personal opinion. If you thought the trailers for Wanderer were cool, just wait until you hear about this gem of a game ...

Touhou Double Focus is at heart a series spin-off done up in an obvious tribute to Konami's Castlevania platformers. In fact a lot of the level layouts, and certain character designs will have you remembering Castlevania greats such as 'Symphony of the Night". Not only that but cameos from other Konami series intrude as well from time to time. While it pokes and prods at Konami creatures, and apparently even some movie monstrosities throughout it's entirety you'll find that Double Focus stands on it's own two legs in the Touhou world. The fan made story this time around, as it were involves two careless shrine maidens, and a human librarian who meddles with a magic book that should not have been messed with. Both Aya, and her Hakurei Shrine partner Momiji get sucked into the world of books unwillingly by the legendary Book King. It not only sucks them into this 2D fantasy world, but also the rest of Gensokyo as well. To find their way out of the mess, and back into their own world Aya, and Momiji must team up and use books they find to defeat the enemies they run into on their way out.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Touhou Genso Wanderer (PS4)

Taking place in a Japanese inspired fantasy world filled with cutesy anime girls, mythical monsters, and an evil force hellbent on cloning an entire civilization for it's own diabolical purposes, "Touhou Genso Wanderer" brings to the gamer an RPG experience unlike any other. An experience where how well you manage the main character Reimu's actions will mean the difference between completion and progress reset. As Reimu, a shrine maiden stationed at Hakurei Shrine you must face a dire circumstance brought on by a visit to a relic dealer named Rinnosuke, and the tug of war battle over a mysterious golden ball that ensued during their encounter. You'll be taken from your shrine headquarters into the clone infested lands beyond as you battle your way to an erected tower the likes of which was built by the possessed Rinnosuke for unknown reasons. These lands which are labyrinthine in nature, and divided by floors will not only lead to the solving of the investigation at hand, but will also rid Gensokyo of it's plight. You won't be going at it alone though as chance encounters with other interesting characters will give way to partnerships that will help you deal with the escalating threat. Whether or not Reimu, and her friends prevail in their mission will be up to you though.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Ghost Blade HD (PS4)

Hucast's Playstation 4 port of their Dreamcast shmup "Ghost Blade" is a perfect HD upgrade with plenty of challenges, and tweaks to appease a fan of the genre. It is a sensory overload filled with vibrant colors, detailed designs, and impressive art that holds up to today's shoot 'em up standards. The game itself stars three intergalactic female pilots (Milan, Ghost & Rekka) who each pilot a ship/tank that has it's own style of bullet fire, and satellites. The ships are color coded to match their pilot's uniform, and each carry a unique design. With these ships you must brave one of three different difficulty settings (Easy, Normal, Hard) along with five top-down enemy filled stages as well as the five boss battles within each stage that are in themselves a proper challenge. The difficulty settings included have their own accompanying perks including a specific number of continues, lives, and bombs/bomb usage types. The 'Easy' mode in particular will have you focusing mostly on the screen filling bullet hell spray, and less on the bombs as the bombs activate automatically when you get hit making you temporarily invincible. Supposing you have some in stock In the other two difficulties bombs are a manual deal meaning that you must activate them in order to use them. Along with the bombs comes main weaponry in the form of a focused fire attack, and a spread attack. A feature that's included in all levels of difficulty. The focus attack streamlines the bullet fire from your ship making the beam it creates more powerful, and in the process slows down your movement so that you can dodge bullet hell spray easier. It also doubles as a means to create tech orbs which add to your combo focused score. The standard wide spray shot only gifts you stage stars, and gold when shooting down enemies, but adds to the growing score, nonetheless. It is also weaker making it more useful against smaller enemy types.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Danganronpa 1•2 Reload (PS4)

For those of you out of the know, and new to the show the series that is "Danganronpa" is in a class of it's own. Pun intended. Despite leaning heavily on visual novel style storytelling, and basic point and click investigations the game provides a character based judicial process unlike any other. A judicial process that has you figuring out who's who in the grand scheme of things, and administering a punishment deserving of the crime afterwards. In the first game, "Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc" you follow average student, but ultimate lucky attendee Makoto Naegi as he embarks on a life changing journey at the presumably prestigious "Hope's Peak Academy". A school for the ultimate of ultimate classmates. Each of which are the ultimate at whatever it is they do best. Supposedly the school is to open up a world of opportunities for the students who attend, but the 15 students that end up arriving on opening day find out otherwise. Through the maniacal managing of Monokuma, and the murderous intent of those among them the classmates must keep their calm, and assess the situation intelligently or die trying. As Makoto you must observe others in your presence, find clues about certain situations, and build upon relationships to try and figure out what exactly is going on as well as how to escape the nightmare thereof.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Clicker Heroes (Impressions)

Clicker Heroes is what you'd call an "idle RPG", or a clicker RPG. It's a part of a new sub-genre in the world of role-playing games. Mainly those of the touch screen type. In fact most of you would recognize this type of experience as something you'd usually see only on a mobile device. As an RPG though it doesn't really seem to have an end point, and as far as I can tell the only purpose is hands-on, and hands-off micro-management. All of which takes in account the heroes versus monsters trope. You'll basically be upgrading hero stats as you level up various unlockable heroes through lucrative battles with monsters and monster bosses. A system which contributes to the growing DPS (Damage Per Second), and "Click Damage" that comes from the game's tedious button mashing mechanic. As you level up the named heroes you've unlocked you'll also unlock perks which add to the damage given. Both by percentage, and damage type. There are also activated abilities to unlock with accompanying cooldowns that limit their usage. As far as the free-to-play aspect goes it looks as if the developer wants to capitalize on a special ruby currency which can unlock gilded heroes, in-game money/cooldown boosts, and ascension material that allows you to upgrade your experience further. If that's something you are alright with you might enjoy this seemingly never-ending time waster ...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Extended Ed. (PS4)

Before I get into the updated options of the extended edition of 'The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing' let me redirect you for a moment to my previous Xbox One review of the same base game. You can click the link here (Van Helsing) to get a good idea as to what I thought of the original console release before hearing me rant again about some of the same issues ...

Van Helsing (as I'm gonna call it) is a game that borrows heavily from Blizzard's Diablo series. It features character gear setups that are not too dissimilar from said gaming world as well as a rarity system that takes in account Blizzard's color coded item and enemy rankings, among other things. There's that, and the overall look of the game which in itself is reminiscent of Diablo on so many levels. When it comes to this particular game though you'll find that it does have it's own mythology, and story that is admirably accented by nonstop voice-over talent that was no doubt costly for the developer to add in. We get to see the son of the infamous monster slayer Abraham Van Helsing do his thing as he follows in his father's footsteps alongside his ghostly female companion, Katarina. It's an adventure filled to the brim with humor, sarcasm, and challenging quests involving the burdened people of Borgova (Borgovia?), and those who would meddle with science and the supernatural.

The extended edition of this quirky dialogue enriched Diablo-like Van Helsing adventure, as it were, is a direct all inclusive port of the PC and Xbox One versions of the same game. Yes, I said "port". It lacks any fixes, and is pretty much a carbon copy of the previous PC, and console versions all the way down to the frame rate stuttering. As far as being "all inclusive" goes I simply mean that the additional DLC of the first game is included at no additional charge. You get the base singleplayer adventure from before which follows closely the exploits of the original Van Helsing's son, and his ghostly companion Katarina as well as the multiplayer tag-along-mode for an online co-op experience, should you feel the need to drag a friend along on the journey. Along with that is the character class DLC (Thaumaturge & Arcane Mechanic), and two new modes of play that extend up the originally offered four difficulty settings (Easy - Hellion) and two campaign types (Normal & Hardcore). Everything from the gameplay to the in-game mechanics, and even the campaign content stays fairly much the same. Those pesky problems I mentioned in my link, they are still there as well. The lack of a guide explaining what you should level up first still hinders early progress as does the abusive hive minded enemy AI which, for lack of a better word, makes for a proper fustercluck. It's a game experience that could have been great, but fell short due to over-complication.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Blue Rider (PS4)

Ravegan's 'Blue Rider' is a minimalist shmup (shoot 'em up) oozing with vivid visual charm, and challenging gameplay that is spread across 9 environmentally different stages. It is "minimalist" in that everything from the menu to the control layout, and even the gameplay itself is easy to understand, and easy to get into with the only real challenge being the controlling of the Blue Rider ship. At the main menu you'll gain access to 9 different stages in unlocked order as well as a controller diagram via the 'Help' menu option that will explain the controls to you. Your goal in each stage is to simply survive without losing health meter while shooting down all patrolling bullet hell enemies as well as the end boss for a top score. There are multiplier opportunities gained from consecutive enemy kills, and power-ups dropped from the occasional enemy to extend upon further gameplay potential. Each stage has branching paths that are sometimes blocked by enemies of varying types as well as gates that require mechanism destruction/activation to get through. There's even stage specific environmental hazards to avoid along the way. When you make it to the end of the stage you will face off against one of nine unique bosses that incorporates a specific strategy for defeat. Learning this required strategy, and dodging bullet hell spray will help you defeat the boss. As it were the main goal in each stage is to ultimately make it through to the end boss, and defeat it in order to unlock the next stage in rotation. Supposing you fail your score will be tallied up at that end of your playthrough, and you'll have to start over at one of the currently available/selectable stages via the main menu 'Play' listing.