Category Archives: Reviews

Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX Review (3DS)

Following the brilliant success of the Project Diva games that have been released on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, Hatsune Miku finally comes to the west on a system outside of the Sony family in Project Mirai DX. With over 40 tracks and TONS of things to do, there’s not a moment you’ll be bored in this game! Continue reading Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX Review (3DS)

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls Review

Before you begin to read this review, I highly suggest you have prior knowledge of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. The majority of the Danganronpa Another Episode has references to both of the previous games leading deep into spoiler territory. If you do not heed my warning then I can only hope you do not become the new Ultimate Despair and I take no responsibility for your actions and possibly bringing ruin to mankind.2015-08-16-180007

Danganronpa Another Episode takes place a year and a half after the most horrible tragedy in the history of mankind as well as a few months after the events of the first Danganronpa. You are introduced to the new protagonist known as Komaru Naegi who is the younger sister of Makoto Naegi from the first game. Unlike Makoto, who is known as the Ultimate Lucky Student, Komaru is just a normal girl that was living a normal life until “The Tragedy” occurred and she ended up being a prisoner in an apartment for over a year. Komaru is rescued by Byakuya Togami and given a megaphone-shaped hacking device and told to escape to the city. Before Komaru can escape, she witnesses the town being invaded by Monokumas and ends up getting captured once again, but this time by children calling themselves the Warriors of Hope. This group consists of five students from Hope’s Peak Academy Elementary known as the Li’l Ultimates. The Warriors of Hope are the ones controlling the Monokumas destroying the city and have been attacking all the adults as well as playing a small game of Demon Hunting with select individuals by attaching tracking bracelets to them then hunting them down. Komaru is the newest target for the Warriors of Hope to hunt.2015-08-16-174914

Unlike the previous games that relied on first-person viewing to investigate areas and visual novel storytelling, Another Episode gets rid of the investigation aspect and replaces it with third-person shooting and reduces the visual novel aspect with the addition of animated cutscenes. The graphics have also been changed by modifying the cardboard cutout style of the previous games’ environments and characters. Characters you encounter will no longer have a flat design but be fully rendered models. Buildings will have similar construction to how they appeared in the previous games but with visual updates. A lot of the plot is still done in the style of a visual novel with about 85% of the dialogue being voice-acted. Unfortunately, the pacing between gameplay and story is really bad for the first chapter, but as the game went on, I found myself forgetting about the pacing and being more engrossed in the story.2015-08-23-122518

Truth Bullets are a staple of the Danganronpa series that have been used as a way to present evidence or correcting statements in past games, but in Another Episode Truth Bullets are ammo used for your Megaphone Hacking Gun. The Megaphone Hacking Gun uses eight types of ammo with different functions to help destroy Monokumas, uncover secrets, activate various machines, and even control Monokumas at some point. Some types of ammo can be further customized with bullet bling to add to the ammo count and strength of the bullets.2015-08-18-210555

To keep the feel of solving mysteries from the previous games, you will now encounter puzzles and riddles that must be solved in order to move forward since solving a murder is no longer an option. The riddles are simple challenges that can easily be skipped in most cases but are rewarding if solved. Puzzle rooms are easily recognized by special double doors that lead to a room with red curtains and a Pac-Man style arcade cabinet called MoNoKu-Man. Using one of your special Truth Bullets on the arcade cabinet will give you an overhead view of the next room and the objective as well as what bullets you are allowed to use. The majority of the puzzles can be as simple as destroying all the Monokumas under specific conditions. If you make a mistake you can still progress normally by destroying the Monokumas or you can use the reload option to retry the puzzle. I ended up encountering several puzzles in the later parts of the game that had simple solutions but I could not get credit for the objective for unknown reasons. After about an hour messing around with the problem puzzles I managed to achieve the goal and I believe the solution may be scripted to a specific order of events.2015-08-16-184517

Komaru, the main character in this game, is constantly looking down on herself and wanting to be free of the tragedy that is after her. Komaru realizes she is not her brother but she slowly learns to handle the situations in her own way that may or may not be enough to handle the Warriors of Hope.Toko Fukawa, whom fans may remember from the first game, returns to help Komaru escape Towa City and she has learned to sort of control her split personality problem known as Genocide Jack (Jill). Toko uses a stun gun to temporarily bring out Jill who wields sharp scissors with deadly precision that can quickly decapitate any Monokumas that stand her in way. Jill is extremely handy with her melee attacks and while she cannot take damage, her usefulness is limited to the battery power for the stun gun, meaning you should save her for emergency situations. Unlike the previous game Toko appeared in, she develops into a more interesting character along with Komaru which leads to entertaining banter between the two.2015-08-18-190219

Danganronpa Another Episode does a great job bridging the gap between the first two games. The concept of going from pure visual novel with first-person investigation elements to third-person action with visual novel elements worked really well for a Danganronpa game. The idea of taking Truth Bullets from the class trials to actual ammo for a megaphone weapon is a interesting idea that I would love to see expanded on if another game is made like this for the series. The puzzles and riddles could use a bit of work but were fun when they could be solved properly. I would honestly have liked to see more done with previous characters returning in some way or another but what is seen was very interesting. It was really great seeing Toko go from this horribly judgemental person to someone you can feel empathetic towards and even like having around. I really enjoyed getting to see Komaru as a main character since she is not considered a strong character like her brother and everything about her is relatively normal. I highly recommend this game for anyone that is a fan of the Danganronpa series and to anyone who is curious about the series to start with the first two games and keep in mind that all three games are Playstation TV compatible. Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is set to release on September 1st in North America and September 4th in Europe.

Shiftlings Review

What happens when you take two quirky space engineers and make them solve complex puzzles, in dangerous environments, while tethered to each other, for the entertainment of others? You get Shiftlings, the new physics-based, puzzle-platformer from Sierra Entertainment and Rock Pocket Games. In Shiftlings, you take control of Purple Plop and Green Goop and attempt to repair various things, while unknowingly taking part in a TV show complete with an announcer. Meanwhile, the game heavily relies on a fictional soda named Black Hola Cola for jokes, mechanics, and objectives.

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Lost Dimension Review

The world has come under attack by a single person known simply as The End, no I’m not talking about that one boss character from Metal Gear Solid 3, that resulted in over two billion casualties. After the attack a message was received from The End saying he will destroy the world in 13 days unless he is stopped. Normal attempts to attack The End in his tower were unsuccessful and thus the United Nations decided to send in a special team, known as S.E.A.L.E.D.,  to stop The End. S.E.A.L.E.D. is a special team of individuals gifted with unique powers and the remaining eleven members are suffering from a minor case of amnesia thanks to The End. Along with the surprise of amnesia, The End has also planted multiple traitors in the party that you will have uncover along the way.

2015-06-27-222312Out of the eleven characters you will control the leader known as Sho Kasugai, who is more affected by the amnesia then the rest of the team. Each person on the team has abilities unique only to them as well as special abilities when borrowing the power of another person. One of my favorite character’s has the ability to levitate allowing her to traverse more of the terrain in a shorter amount of time and allow her to skip over most obstacles in the way. Other characters have abilities such as teleportation, pyrokinesis, copy, and so forth meaning you can mix party members to fit your style for the situation you are facing at the time.

2015-06-28-194256The combat part of the game is a standard tactical role playing game style. You move your current character who will have a set amount of space he or she can move in order to get closer to or the flank an enemy then you decide what action to take then move to the next character. You will have multiple actions to choose from including Attack, Gift, Defer, Item, and Wait. Of course Attack means to do a basic attack but Gift allows you to use the special abilities of the character you are in control of at the time. Defer is a very useful option to have as it allows you to end your turn and let someone of your choosing take an extra turn, even if they already had a turn, and the person deferring is giving a portion of their power to the person you choose allowing for special gifts to be used as long as that person receiving the power has an ability that uses their power and the deferer’s power together. You will have an HP bar for health like most games use, a GP bar that is used for your Gift abilities, and a SAN bar that is kind of like your sanity meter that will drain more or less depending what you do but will recover with the Wait option. If SAN drops to 0% your character will enter a berserk mode where they become overly powerful but uncontrollable and will target friends and enemies alike. After each mission Sho’s gift will activate where he is able to hear the inner voices of the other five members that went into battle with him.

2015-07-01-204247When you are not in combat you will have access to a lobby where you can do several things such as buying and selling items and equipment as well as changing weapons and armor. There is an option to talk to S.E.A.L.E.D. team members to learn more about them. After most missions you can talk to your teammates and the first two members you speak to will gain more trust towards you. I found it easier to think of that part of the game as visual novel as you eventually are asked to answer questions that could impact your relationship with the teammate you are speaking to at the time. Near the end of chapter one a new option called Judgement appears where you must decide who the first traitor is among the group. Judgement will appear at the end of each chapter meaning there are multiple traitors throughout the game. The traitor in each chapter will be random and you will have to determine who you suspect the traitor is and then use Sho’s special ability Deep Vision to look into the mind of the suspect to see if they truly are guilty. Deep Vision can only be used a limited number of times per chapter and there is auto save that occurs before each use. You could send your save to the cloud or a USB device but that would be cheating and ruin the fun of possibly picking the wrong person. First time through the game the first traitor is predetermined but New Game Plus will have a different person. After you determine who the traitor is you will need to persuade the rest of the team by letting them know who you believe the traitor is by doing more missions and talking to them afterwards. Once a person has been judged as a traitor they will be erased and leave behind a special item that allows other people to use their abilities so you are never without what may be needed for your survival. If you do judge a person wrongly you will not find out until the end of the game and that could end up ruining your playthrough.

2015-06-27-182730Like most RPG games you will have to grind levels in order to survive later parts but that is fairly simple to do and you can easily get five to ten levels in an hour or so depending how quick you are with what remaining team members you will have left in the later parts of the game. I managed to finish the game around level 45 and that may have been a bit under leveled but I never felt like I was going to lose until I had a character go into Berserk mode but luckily he was focused on The End. Lost Dimension is on Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita and is also Playstation TV compatible but is not cross buy or cross save. I played through the whole game on the Vita and noticed a few frame rate issues and since I had access to the PS3 version I decided to see if the same issues occurred there as well. The most noticeable issue involves the cursor in the lobby area. The cursor in the Vita version seems to react slowly when you try to move it around and seems to have a weird after image trailing behind it but in the PS3 version it was a smoother movement yet slightly sluggish, this is minor issue since it is easier to use the d-pad to select the icons you want anyway. One character has a teleportation ability that turns him into a void of particle effects that the Vita was just not able to handle smoothly but if this isn’t a character you use a lot or have already judged as a traitor then this isn’t a huge issue.

2015-06-28-155408My starting party consisted of a healer, pyro user, levitator, buffer, and heavy hitter. As I played through the game and ended up losing preferred members causing me to change tactics to adapt to the point I was using only two original members by the final segment. I did have some fun with game but felt there was a lack of content as the game can be beaten in 30 hours with a total of five chapters and there are not a lot of missions in each chapter. The Judgement segments could be better as all you have to do is tell all members of S.E.A.L.E.D. before hand who you believe the traitor is and they will blindly follow your decision with no supporting evidence. I would really like to see Lost Dimension follow in the tracks of Danganronpa and go a bit darker on the story and more in depth when it comes to determining who is a traitor. I believe Lost Dimension is a decent experience that needed a bit more content.


Batman: Arkham Knight Review

I’m not the biggest comic book fan in the world. I love the worlds and many of the stories, but I’m much more of a casual fan of characters like Iron Man, Superman and Batman. I’ve seen all the movies and played many of the games, but I’ve never read much of the source material these characters come from. I’m also much more of a fan of the campy side of these characters like the 60’s Batman series or shows like Batman: The Brave and the Bold. With that being said, however, I have been a huge fan of the Arkham series of games from Warner Bros. and Rocksteady Studios.

Batman: Arkham Knight starts off shortly after the events of Arkham City. The Joker is dead, but that doesn’t mean Batman can retire comfortably to Wayne Manor. The power vacuum that is left means someone’s going to step up and this time that someone just happens to be Scarecrow. He launches an attack on Gotham that forces officials to evacuate the city. The only people left in town are the police and the criminals. It’s a perfect way to evacuate a city and leave it a virtual playground for both villain and hero alike to play in. The overall size of Gotham is roughly five times that of Arkham City before it.

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