Tag Archives: Atlus

NCG Review – Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight (PS4, PSVITA)

Not going to lie, I played the pants off of Persona 4: Dancing all Night.  I went as far as getting all the trophies and buying all the DLC.  Now, Persona 3 is definitely my favorite in the series, with Persona 5 coming in at 2nd so I was ecstatic when I heard they were also making a music game for those titles!  Did the games live up to my expectations?

Story

What I loved about Persona 4: Dancing all Night was the story.  It was as though it was a side story  that brought the team back together again after the adventure was over.  Not to mention the introduction of new characters, Kanami Mashita and the idol group Kanamin Kitchen was a nice touch. Sure, the dialogue and plot were kind of cheesy, but it gave you a goal and a new mission; dance your butt off to satisfy the shadows!  Something about the tone of the story combined with the remixed soundtrack made the game a fun experience: there was a theme, there was a resolution!P5D 1.png

Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight didn’t quite live up to that expectation.  The team has been taken to the Velvet Room for a competition but no cast members will remember what has happened in the Velvet Room when they wake up which makes this story null and void to the series.  It’s not a supplement, just an extra game.  There is also no variance in story for either title; the story for each game is essentially the same, just with a different set of characters. This simplifies the game, but at the same time the plot for the two titles doesn’t feel, in any way, compelling.  Sure, a dancing game doesn’t really need a plot, but I thought it was an aspect that made Persona 4: Dancing all Night stand out and I was hoping to see again with Persona 3 and Persona 5.  I really wanted to see what creators could come up with for each cast…P3D 1.png

The story is not essential to enjoying the game.  I just thought it would have been a nice touch to include a unique story that pertained to each cast, similar to P4: DAN.

Gameplay

If you played Persona 4: Dancing all Night, then picking up Persona 3 and Persona 5 will be a piece of cake.  Game play is simple in that you have icons that move outward from the middle and you need to push the corresponding button(s) on the left side, the right side, or both at the right time. You can get a “Perfect”, “Great”, “Good”, or “Miss” based on how accurate you hit the notes. Notes are the same as P4: single note, double note, hold, and scratch.  Persona 3 and 5 have added an additional double-tap note which is easy enough to pick up.

What I forgot about the Persona dancing games is the pacing is not as fast as other music games. Notes do not feel like they’re flying at you at inhuman speeds.  For me, this was difficult to keep up with since I am not used to actually watching the notes crawl into place; I use my gamer sense and mash accordingly.  To compensate, I added a modifier which speeds up the notes.  Slower notes movement is an aspect that might be fun to players who love the Persona series, but aren’t too big into music games and who do not play them regularly.P5D 3

Since there is not a central story to either games, you gain your unlockables and modifiers through social links.  In order to unlock social links you need to play the game.  There are a lot of fun ways to unlock social links, for example, wearing different accessories and costumes, or getting a certain number of combos.

Playing through the social links wasn’t my favorite part of the game, but it did bring me back to my favorite characters.  Persona 3 is my favorite game in the series, so seeing my favorite characters was a lot of fun.  I forgot how much I loved Elizabeth’s (or “Elle-P”‘s) quirky personality!  And although sitting through each social link could be boring at times (the dialogue is extremely cheesy!) I was rewarded with a variety of items and modifiers.unnamed.png

Like the previous entry, you can change the game by adding modifiers.  Some modifiers will help you in the game, or make it more challenging.  Helping modifiers subtract from your final score, and challenges will add to your score.

The criteria that determines whether or not your passed a song is very unclear.  P3 & P5 play similar to P4 in that you need to get the crowd excited, but it’s hard to determine if you are.  Maybe I am still salty, but I had nearly a full combo and missed (not hit it too late/too early) 2 notes toward the end of the song and did not clear it! I played the same song again, with weaker combos and hit rates, and passed the song…P5D 2.png

The overall game play is very fun for both titles.  The downside: both games are EXACTLY THE SAME.  This is down to the modifiers and social link criteria.

Audio

I’ll be pretty honest and come out and say that I am not a big fan of any Persona sound track.  Persona 4 was a lot of fun for me because of the remixes.  I jumped right into Persona 5 since it was the latest and freshest in my mind, but I just could not get into any of the tracks.  Jumping into Persona 3, though, was much funner since the audio tracks have a more up-beat music game sound to it.

Each game has around 25 songs, and follow the same pattern where you play four songs with individual characters, and then get either an animated song, or group song. This pattern follows until the end, where you get the concert rendition and then the “final” group dance song where all characters are dancing in the video.

When it comes down to picking which game has the better audio list, it comes down to preference.  For me, it was hands down P3 with the pop remixes of the original sound track.

Graphics

I played P4 on my Vita so the transition to PS4 was much welcomed.  The graphics have been enhanced and there’s an increase in the frame rate for all 3 entries.  You may need to adjust your TV settings and calibrate the buttons to ensure there is no lag.P3D 2

Verdict

Pros:  The game is addicting, easy to pick up, and revisits the cast from P3 and P5 titles. When playing you feel compelled to challenge yourself to see if you can get a King Crazy combo or beat your previous score.

Since the story is simplified, you don’t have to sit through a story plot that may or may not be interesting to you.

While you can unlock social links and get more items, it’s not really a requirement to go through them.  You can play through the songs as normal.  Social links are only relevant if you like modifying your characters and unlocking items.P3D 3

The sound tracks are unique to each game and you can play through some really awesome remixes of your favorite songs from each title.

Cons:  P3 and P5 are basically the same game.  Same plot, same way to unlock things, and to be honest, some of the dance moves even looked the same.  They’re basically the same game with 2 different skins and playlists.  Maybe this isn’t a con, but a gripe since I was hoping to view these as two separate entries.unnamed(1)

I rate Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight an 8 out of 10.

I don’t like how both titles are basically the same game.  If you want to save money, you’re better off picking your preferred cast and picking up that title.  But despite the sameness, the overall game play and game structure is still a lot of fun and worth the price tag (for a single game).  There is a lot more to the game than just dancing and you’ll enjoy going back down memory lane when you hear your favorite jam.Score

Have you picked up either of these titles yet? What did you think? Which is your favorite Persona game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

 

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NCG Review: Dragon’s Crown Pro (Playstation 4)

Normally I don’t get too excited over the re-release of a game.  However, Dragon’s Crown Pro was a title I didn’t mind revisiting.

Jumping back into the game I had forgotten not only how beautiful the world of Dragon’s Crown is and how addicting the chaotic game play can be.

Visuals

Enhanced for the PlayStation 4 Pro, the graphics look stunning! Visuals have been retouched to give the art work and style of the game more clarity.  The game design and art work in itself is already outstanding, but the enhanced graphics lure you back into the Dragon’s Crown world.  You’ll find yourself wondering why you left it in the first place.Converted_5

Audio

The original soundtrack to Dragon’s Crown set a unique tone and atmosphere for the game.  Dragon’s Crown Pro has taken an already wonderful soundtrack and re-recorded it.  Composed by Hitoshi Skaimoto and supported by a live orchestra, the new soundtrack enhances the gaming experience.  I usually don’t pay much attention to the soundtrack and use whichever tunes are playing on default, but switching it up in the latest version added a more refined element to the game. I think it’s an aspect music junkies can appreciate. Of course, you also have the option to use the original sound track if you don’t care about all the fancy new stuff.

Game Play

What I absolutely love about this re-release is that I don’t have to start the game all over again! You can cross-save your saved data from the PS3 to the latest version so you can start adventuring where you left off.  You basically adventure in the same areas multiple times anyway, but it’s nice to keep your items and characters.  I’ll admit, I would have been heart-broken if I didn’t get to keep my Sorceress, EstllaR.P9_ソーサレスjpg

For those who might be new to this title, you select your character (Fighter, Amazon, Wizard, Elf, Dwarf, or Sorceress), assemble your team, and fight your way through dungeons. Each dungeon has two paths you can take, one usually more difficult and challenging than the other.   Your ultimate goal is to gather the crystals from each dungeon and defeat a dragon.

Dragon's Crown Pro_20170901175438
Dragon’s Crown Pro_20170901175438

There are many aspects I enjoy about this game. For example, the game is very balanced.  There’s a limit to how many times you can use an item or even your main weapon. I chose the Sorceress first, and I had to balance attacks, magic, and recharging my MP to attack. On top of that, items can weaken or break after too many uses. Adventuring through a dungeon also doesn’t guarantee you will obtain the crystal.  There are different criteria you must meet when battling a final boss in order to get the crystal.

The only major downside to the game is how repetitive it can become; you ‘ll have to adventure through the same dungeons multiple times if you fail to meet your goal the first round.  However, there are a lot hidden pathways and treasures within a level.  On your second or fifth round, you might find something you missed the first four times.

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Verdict

Pros:

Upgraded crisp graphics that reveal the details of each hand drawn character and a new soundtrack bring you back into the world of Dragon’s Crown. On top of that, you get to keep your saved data from other consoles and cross-play/cross-save to your heart’s content.

Cons:

Aside from the updated graphics and sound, there really isn’t much new to the game.  I’d have liked to see new characters and new levels.  There’s nothing that really feels “New” to the game. To compensate, DLC content will be released but I think it would have been nice to see it included with the re-release of the game.

If you haven’t had a chance to play Dragon’s Crown, definitely pick up Dragon’s Crown Pro for the PS4.  The hand drawn art style is stunning and the game play is fun and addictive.  I always find myself poking around the screen to find hidden treasures and seeing what I can unlock from the runes.

If you’re a returning player, the buy may or may not be worth it. You don’t lose any of your data, however there are no real new elements to the title.

Do you like Dragon’s Crown? What is your favorite Vanillaware title? Let us know in the comments!Score

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux Coming in May

Today, Atlus announced the release date for their upcoming title Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux for the Nintendo DS.  We can pick up the re-release of the Shin Megami Tensei series this May 15th for $39.99.  This title will include an additional character (Alex), additional story content, and new illustrations by Masayuki Doi.

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Are you a Shin Megami Tensei fan? Will you be checking out this title? Let us know in the comments!

Dragon’s Crown Pro – Battle Hardened Edition

Dragon’s Crown Pro Battle Hardened Edition is now up for pre-order.  Why get this version? For the seven collectible cards and the limited edition case, of course!

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Dragon’s Crown Pro features:
  • Visuals Fit for an Ancient Dragon – With beautifully refined artwork and 4K resolution support, Vanillaware’s signature art style will come alive as you bludgeon, cleave, shoot, and loot through the dungeons of Hydeland.

  • A Rousing Adventurer’s Soundtrack – A newly recorded soundtrack by fabled composer Hitoshi Sakimoto, supported by a live orchestra, will accompany daring treasure hunters on their search for the Dragon’s Crown.

  • Glorious Presentation – Rejoice because English and Japanese audio options will now be available! Plus, game text will be localized in French, Italian, German, and Spanish.

  • All the Royal Bells and Whistles – If you already own Dragon’s Crown, your saves won’t go to waste. There will be online cross-play & cross-save compatibility with existing PS3 and Vita versions. Oh, and all patches, features, and the Storyteller Voice Pack DLC from the original game will be included!

  • Four Player Frenzy – With the fun local couch co-op and online multiplayer you remember, up to four players can experience countless hours battling together.

While I am not too thrilled about the offerings on the Battle-Hardened Edition, I would absolutely love the collectible cards.

Have you played Dragon’s Crown? What did you think of the game? Will you be picking up Dragon’s Crown Pro? Let us know in the comments!

Catherine: Full Body announced for PS4 and PSVita

Atlus has announced Catherine: Full Body for Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita. The title is being developed by Studio Zero, the studio led by Persona 5 director Katsura Hashino.

Catherine is an action puzzle game released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011. It follows the story of Vincent, a 32 year-old man who cheats on his fiancée Katherine with a woman named Catherine, and is desperately trying to survive while suffering from nightmares that come as a result of his actions. Catherine: Full Body will feature a “third Catherine” whose personality and aura seem to be quite different from the previous two, as well as new scenes with Katherine and Catherine.

Here is everything we know so far:


  • Development is a collaborative effort between Atlus and Studio Zero.
  • The third “Catherine” is named Rin (voiced by Aya Hirano). She is a pianist at Vincent’s regular bar, and has an exceedingly honest and gentle personality. Rin’s involvement in the story will introduce new branches for the other two “Catherines.”
  • A large amount of new endings, episodes, anime movies, and sexy events are being added.
  • The subtitle “Full Body” was chosen from the wine term, and exemplifies an even richer and somehow more erotic new Catherine.
  • A wide range of difficulties and convenient systems are being prepared.
  • There is a new mechanic where you move blocks where multiple are connected. There is also a new mode.
  • There are online battles.
  • There is cross-save support.
  • The idea and direction of the Atlus-style traditional fantasy RPG has been solidified.
  • There is a feeling among the studio that “something interesting can certainly be made.”
  • While talented individuals have been recruited for the project, there still are not enough programmers and designers.
  • In the sense of fusing the creativity assembled by the resonance of Atlus and Studio Zero, it is important to create Catherine: Full Body together. The thought is that this will have a positive influence on Project Re Fantasy.
  • Catherine: Full Body and Project Re Fantasy are of different genres at first glance, but are connected by their developers.
  • The new “Catherine,” Rin, is described as a healing existence that assists the nightmare-ridden Vincent and shows him new values. While her speech and conduct give off an aura of considerably lacking in common, she is a very straightforward and gentle character.
  • The scenario is mainly being made by full-time staff.
  • The wide range of difficulties and convenient systems being prepared will enable people who are interested in the story to enjoy the game until the very end.
  • In puzzle action stages, there is a new mechanic where you have to think about not only how to move cube-shaped blocks, but also blocks in a state where multiple are connected.
  • You can switch between new and traditional modes during the story.
  • There was unexpected excitement for the competitive mode overseas, so online battles are being included.
  • There is more than one new ending.
  • Development is currently 50 percent complete.
  • A release date and price are still to be announced.