NCG Review: Yakuza Kiwami 2 (PS4)

NCG Review: Yakuza Kiwami 2 (PS4) by Dark_laharl

Well then, it’s been a while since I have reviewed a game but I am back with Yakuza Kiwami 2 the remake of Yakuza 2! So for starters a confession, I’ve never played a Yakuza game before. I have seen trailers and .gifs about it but before now I did not know anything about the franchise but now I want to play them all!  I will have to wait for the remakes to come out before I go up to Yakuza 6 (if I can wait that long).

Story (No Spoilers)

I will not spoil the story for you (even though this is a remake of a game that came out 10 years ago!) All I will tell you about it is that it’s very involved, there are a lot of characters that are introduced in a sort of rapid fire method that it’s hard to keep up. This could be my own fault for not having played these games before so it isn’t a bad thing really, certainly not a reason to not play it. The story did keep me hooked, I wanted to know what Kiryu was going to do next, what is the solution!? This game is not dubbed and it does not have an option to change the language to English, the only reason this is a little bit bad is because it is hard to enjoy the beautiful graphics during cut scenes. This leads me to the next category.

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Graphics

The graphics are a big upgrade from the original (duh! The original was on the PS2!) The game uses the Dragon Engine that was used in Yakuza 6, so it is the most advanced at this time. You can really see the upgrade in the cut scenes; the minor facial details of the characters are very noticeable, from the wrinkles of an old man to the pores and freckles of some of the ladies. Though the graphics are awesome there is no 4K setting for this game – a little bit of a missed opportunity now that we have PS4 Pro. Additionally, the frames are set at 30 FPS, a lot of people see this as a negative but honestly it’s only bad in this game now and then, and personally after a while this doesn’t even bother me.

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Gameplay

The gameplay of Yakuza really helped keep me hooked, the side quests were varied enough that none of them really felt repetitive. I enjoyed playing the arcades, playing golf, there is even a little RTS game in there that is kind of like tower defense. The fighting in the game kind of reminds me of Shenmue 2 (remember that game?) there are lots of moves that you can learn, and “heat moves” that are basically extra brutal moves and not so brutal: throwing guys into water, or crotch first into a pole and all the way to stabbing a guy in the gut then kneeing the knife further into the gut (ouch!) There is plenty in Yakuza Kiwami 2 to do, so you will not be bored while playing it.

Overall I highly recommend Yakuza Kiwami 2, it is fun, the story is great and the upgraded graphics drag you into the title. I can’t wait to see if Kiwami 3 will be made, but I suppose I wouldn’t mind playing it on the PS3, I just hope the graphics difference will not be a turn off! What do you guys think? Will you pick this game up? Did you the original? Let us know in the comments!

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Co-op mode for Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker

Bandai Namco Entertainment America brings us the latest co-op  trailer for the 4 V 4 online brawler Naruto to Baturo: Shinobi Striker.  You can pick this title up August 31st, 2018, but until then check out the new features in the video below:

Features you saw:

Searching – Avoid traps and obstacles to obtain a lost item.

Body Guard – Players must protect the designated ally and bring them safely to an area of the map.

Extermination – Take down multiple enemies that appear on the map as a team.

Subjugation – Defeat ninja foes and powerful monsters with coordinated teamwork.

The co-op modes look pretty fun.  What do you think? Will you be picking up this title? Let us know in the comments!

Neptunia & Friends coming to Apply iOS

Never leave home without your NepNep! Coming back with new text and voices, you can have the Goddess’s of Gamindustri in the palm of your hand when you download the Neptunia & Friends app.

Both an alarm clock and digital waifu, Neptunia & Friends allows you to chat with, dress up, and play games with the Goddess’s.  Fill up the Love Love Gauge and see if you can get a kiss from your favorite Goddess!

Outfits comes as DLC, but the time spent winning over your favorite Goddess is priceless. Maybe.

Who is your favorite Goddess? Do you have an iPhone? Will you be downloading this app and building up that Love Love Gauge? I think I would have the most fun playing with Nep Nep.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

 

NCG Review – All-Star Fruit Racing (PS4, PC, Switch)

“All Star” is usually a name that pops up in video game titles after a series or company has a good reputation.  Does All-Star Fruit Racing meet your expectations?AllStarOnline_2

Visuals

All Star Fruit Racing is very colorful, filled with an array of terrains and courses that are vibrant  and eye-catching.  Characters themselves are colorful and portray a unique fruit.  However, everything visually just seems to fall short.  Although the visuals are vibrant, there is too much on the screen making the courses feel cluttered with graphics.  One thing that I look for in a racing game is enough to create a setting or theme, but nothing that distracts or overwhelms me visually while I am trying to navigate a course, and win.  Sometimes it’s difficult to tell where the course is at and when you go off course, you’re not really sure how or why.  Characters themselves are quirky with a design that matches the fruit they’re based on, but characters fall short of being unique.  There’s a generic feel to the each character with few qualities to set them apart and make them memorable.AllStarDateAnnounce_5.png

Navigating the menu also imposes a challenge since the font is small and difficult to read.

 

Audio

If you’ve ever sat at a slot machine and kept pushing the button, then you’ll have an idea what a race course sounds like.  While playing, the course is filled with mellow tunes that fit the course design and chimes that interact with what your character is doing on the course.  Music intensifies as you lap around the course, but nothing particularly stands out about the audio tracks.

Gameplay

There are 5 game modes: Random Juicer, Juicer, Dragster, Elimination, Elimination Mix.  You’re given 10 characters to start with out of 22.

The button layout is more relatable to a modern-day racing game, but the overall game play style is similar to Mario Kart.  Each mode imposes a different challenge.  Random Juicer is the most similar to Mario Kart.  Juicer mode is a twist, where you need to race and collect fruit in order to mix all the fruits together, while racing, to get a juice.  After making a juice concoction, based on whatever you made, you can use it as a weapon or booster to help you through the course.  Elimination mode is a unique mode where players are eliminated at intervals through the race if they’re in last place. Elimination Mix is similar to Elimination, except, you never know when the counter will pop up during a race.AllStarOnline_4

While racing there is no real sense of speed.  You’re not rewarded with a boost after drifting or collecting items. The only time you feel a sense of acceleration is when you go over a speed booster, but even so you’re never really moving faster than the character in front of you. There also feels like a lack of punishment if you collide or crash around in the course. After you crash or bump into a wall, you immediately resume max speed.  Weapons feel very unbalanced and almost useless.  They impose some advantage, but they don’t feel like they’re doing much to other players since the game doesn’t provide heavy punishment when hit with the weapons.AllStarDateAnnounce_2.png

Car customization is an option, but this feature is cosmetic and doesn’t add any additional attributes to the vehicle. Characters have special abilities, but these abilities can only be accessed in the Random Juicer courses.

Verdict

Pros: While some aspects of the game feel lacking (i.e. lack of speed and punishment for messing up), you can tell that you need to be strategic about how you play.  In Juicer mode, the fruits you collect determine the weapon you send out.  You need to determine which fruits you want to collect, then you need to create and access the mixture which can be difficult to focus on while you’re driving.  The lack of speed makes sense since players will be multitasking while they race. Not only do you need to know what to mix, which fruits you want to collect, you need to know how the weapons will work since they can potentially back fire on you.  It’s a lot to take in at once but gives the game a unique challenge despite all the downfalls.

To help make load screens a bit more bearable, you get a lot of fruit facts.  Mostly trivia facts you wouldn’t have guessed… about fruit!  It made me want to sit through all the load screens and learn more about fruit!

Cons: As stated earlier, courses feel cluttered with visuals, it’s hard to read the menu, the overall design isn’t very eye-catching, and using your weapons can be frustrating.

The price tag is also a bit much.  The game doesn’t have as much to offer compared to other games of the same style.

Overall, I would rate the game a 6 out of 10.

Score

NCG Reviews: Overcooked 2 (PS4, Switch, PC)

Team 17 is bringing Overcooked back with more kitchen madness! Jump into your food truck and find a way to defeat the un-bread!

Story

After reading the necro -nomnom- icon and accidentally raising the un-bread, you must hop in your food truck, hone your cooking skills, and defeat the un-dead bread monsters!  The story isn’t pertinent to the game, but the jokes and humor help set the overall tone for your kitchen journey.6-2

Gameplay

If you’ve played Overcooked, then you already have a feel for how Overcooked 2 will work. What I really enjoyed about Overcooked 2 is that it’s not a re-skin of its predecessor.  There are more features to the game, and more ways to utilize what you already know.2-3

Features

The throw feature is a new addition to the game.  You’ll have to figure out how to launch foods across the kitchen and chasms (and other obstacles) to ensure your team mates can cook/cut ingredients.  Throwing adds another layer of strategy to game as players learn how to send food to areas and players that can’t be reached.  Thrown food can  be caught directly,  land on a surface, or, of course, land in your hand knocking something important out of it.  The throw feature is limited to food, so you can’t throw dishes around the kitchen.  The plates would break, you know?

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Unfortunately, you can’t make your chef swear across the kitchen when you’re frustrated (*!@#$@*#$*@#$%@*!), but you CAN communicate what your chef is thinking, feeling, or doing.  This is especially helpful for online modes where you can’t yell at your friend sitting next to you.

Stages

Not only are there new game mechanics, but there are new types of levels with a variety of menus.  Dynamic levels force players to change their strategy and work around the level.  This means switching tasks between chefs and figuring out how the kitchen moves.  The complexity of the menu also poses a new challenge.  Overcooked did not require a variety of dishes to be made, but rather the dishes to be made in a complex environment.  In Overcooked 2, you really have to pay attention to not only your environment, but to what needs to be plated and which ingredients are required.  You’ll have quite a few errors if you’re not paying close attention.1-6

Dynamic levels create a new chaos, but in addition to a variety of stages, you get special levels if you meet specific requirements in a stage.  It’s like a special unlock feature! You’ll likely be looking at walkthroughs in a week or so to unlock the secret levels.  Or, you can see what you come up with on your own.  Whatever floats your boat.

Online

Overcooked 2 doesn’t require your friends to all be in the same room.  Instead, you can play online! This is a fun feature in case your friends are way across town and don’t want to come over (boo to those types of friends!).  This mode, however, can be particularly difficult if no one is using a headset.  Overcooked is a game that requires a certain level of communication that does not happen within the game.  Yes, you can tell your teammates what task you will take on while playing, but when the timer is ticking, chaos ensues!

If playing with friends is not an option, you can also jump online and play against strangers.

Graphics/Audio

This time around, the graphics and audio weren’t really beefed up.  Instead, the focus was the mechanics and game play.  Graphics do look a little bit nicer, and there are a couple new tunes to the sound track.2-6

Verdict

Pros:

Team 17 did a wonderful job incorporating new mechanics and levels to the game.  It’s enough to make the game feel “new” but it’s not a complete overhaul of the original title.  There’s enough balance that new players can jump in and learn the game, while veteran players can still feel challenged.

New modes, such as online and arcade mode, give the game a different dynamic.  You’re not limited to only couch co-op; you can now play with chefs across the world!

Cons:

While the new online feature adds another game dynamic, it’s difficult to communicate with other players.  You do have the emote option to share what your chef will be doing, but when the clock is ticking down it’s difficult to stop and alert your teammates. Although, that is part of the challenge.

Even though there are a variety of new dynamic stages and complex menus, the game can start to feel too easy.  What I enjoyed about the first title was that the challenges weren’t exactly explained to you. You break the challenge down as you play and adapt to what needs to happen in the kitchen.

I would rate this game an 8 out of 10.

Score

The game isn’t perfect but it’s a fun addition to the series.  Have you played Overcooked? How do you and your friends/family get when you play the game? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

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