Category Archives: Reviews

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.

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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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Rory McIlcoy PGA Tour Review

I’ve been playing PGA Tour golf games developed by EA since the 1990 release of PGA Tour Golf. Back then the PC screen could only show part of the hole with no terrain of any kind. On the green you had to switch to a secondary screen that showed the actual geometry of the course. You had a grand total of four golf courses to play and only one set of clubs to choose from. Sound was simple beeps and bloops that were not representative of the game in any way. Your golfer was one model wearing pink pants and a yellow shirt.

Since that time golf games have grown to become incredibly realistic simulations with sometimes near photo-realistic visuals. The last game in the series to be released, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 featured more than 25 golfers from the PGA and LPGA Tours as well as Legends of the game. 20 courses shipped with the main game with almost that many more available as DLC. You also had 21 real world tournaments, including the Masters to compete in. That game launched in 2013 and the series then took a year off.

Since that time the relationship with Tiger Woods has ended. A new golfer, Rory McIlroy, has added his name to the game. New consoles have been released. A new engine, the Frostbite Engine, was used to develop the game. All of it should make for a great refresh for the series. Despite everything good about the game, however, it feels almost like the series is taking a step back.

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LEGO Jurassic World Review

LEGO Jurassic World LogoLEGO video games are nothing new anymore. There are at least a couple different video game releases in the series every year. Popular movie franchises get turned into the world’s most popular building brick then players go around familiar environments destroying everything in sight. The formula hasn’t really changed that much since the beginning of what I like to call the “modern” Lego video game era and the release of LEGO Star Wars in 2005. You play as various characters from the specific franchise destroying everything in sight then using those pieces to rebuild another part of the level to progress through the story. You collect studs. You collect characters. You collect gold bricks. You collect everything. It’s a formula that worked and has continued to work for years. Until that changes I don’t expect these games to change very much.

It’s also a formula that I’ve really liked. My kids and I enjoy playing these games together. There are franchises that they gravitate towards more like Harry Potter or the Avengers while I have franchises I really enjoy like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. LEGO Jurassic World is the most recent release in the series and it’s just as much fun to me as any other release in the series.

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Life of Pixel Review

Life of Pixel LogoPixels are the building blocks of video games. Without them we wouldn’t be able to see anything we’re doing on the screen. By themselves they’re not entirely impressive or exciting. Put a bunch of them together, however, and you can get anything from Mario to Master Chief.

Life of Pixel is a game brought to us by Super Icon Games. In theory it’s simply a platformer that is similar in style to games like VVVVVV or 1001 Spikes. It’s going to test your platforming skills, your reflexes and your patience at times. In reality it’s that, but it’s also a history lesson in video game form. You play through levels based on a number of different video game consoles ranging from the black and white display of the ZX81 all the up way through the 16 bit era with the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis.

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Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure Review

Dr Mario Miracle Cure LogoOver the years I have played a LOT of Dr. Mario. I remember sitting around in the bowling alley arcade as a youngster playing Dr. Mario (or Ghouls & Ghosts) while my parents were bowling. I played it on the NES. I played it on Wii. I played it on Game Boy. What I’ve learned in all those years is that I’m not very good at Dr. Mario, but I still absolutely love playing it. There comes a point where the pills just come too fast for me to be able to keep up. It’s also not really changed that much over its various iterations, but Nintendo has been experimenting with the last couple of games trying to change that formula to keep it fresh. (Man there were some nice pharmaceutical references in that last sentence and I wasn’t really trying.)

Last year’s (okay, technically 2013’s, but it released on the last day of the year) Dr. Luigi game made a small change to the way that you played Dr. Mario by adding a second pill that made all your medicine look like “L” shapes. It was a small change, but it completely changed the way you had to think about playing the game. This year the new mechanic, and the subtitle to the game, is Miracle Cures. These new power ups add another element to the game that makes you rethink the way you put pieces into the playfield.

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Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy Review (PS Vita)

OA CoverSince NIS America has brought yet another insanely niche JRPG to us here in the west, I thought it would be best to strap on my thickest pair of glasses and jump into it with a review. Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves for Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy! Continue reading Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy Review (PS Vita)