Sunday, April 30, 2017

RTK13: Fame and Strategy Expansion Pack Bundle (PS4)

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds (PS VITA)

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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Silver Case (PS4)

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

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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Rose in the Twilight (PS VITA)

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

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

ArmaGallant: Decks of Destiny (PS4)

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

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hobby Highlight ~ March 2017 (ARCHIVE)


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