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Playstation Classic announced and Launching December 3, 2018

Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced that they will be releasing the Playstation Classic. This will be a miniature console that replicates the looks of the original Playstation, as well comes preloaded with 20 classic titles, including fan-favorites such as Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. The console is set to release December 3, in North America for $99.

You can check out the release trailer and screenshots below.

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NCG Review – SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy (PS4, Switch)

Many players know SNK’s long running “The King of Fighter” series, but have you ever wondered why they never released “The Queen of Fighters?” Well now they (sort of?) have with “SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy.” But is it really meant for the fighting game scene, or did they take on a different route with this title?1(1)

Visuals/ Audio

SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy has an awesome soundtrack that fits the theme of the whole game from the J-pop title screen to the quirky music while battling. I did enjoy listening to it all. Another part of the audio that I really enjoyed were the small sound effects when each charter attacks as well as the particle effects having random objects and confetti flying everywhere. Players will also notice that the character models look somewhat like KOF XIV, but upgraded just enough.6(1).png

Gameplay

SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is not your typical hardcore 2D fighter, but more of a casual party game with some unique elements. Fighting game veterans will notice instantly that the button layout is a bit strange as it consist of a light attack,  a heavy attack, special attack, throw, guard, tag and Dream Finish button. Light attack and heavy attack are your main buttons for combos, which are all auto combos, and the special attack button lets players execute specials with the press of one direction and a button, making the game more accessible to the casual gamers within the game modes.1(2).png

The title consists of 5 game modes, which are Story mode, Versus, Survival, Tutorial, and Online. In Story Mode players will discover the girls of the SNK universe have been captured and have woken up in weird fan service clothing. The actual story never really unfolds and ends of falling flat, but Story Mode in any fighting game title usually falls flat. Survival also doesn’t feel challenging since it never jumps up in difficulty. In short, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy has very little to offer for single player. The multi player, on the other hand, is where the game stands strong since the game doesn’t feel like a fighting game but a party game. 3.png

Verdict

If you are looking for an in-depth fighting game, or even a single player title, you will not find it here, but that doesn’t mean SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is a terrible game. It does feel great for a party title and players who are not familiar with fighting game mechanics can pick up the game fast. At the end of the day, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzyis more of a fan service, casual game, and I would not recommend this title for the $49.99 price tag, but I would recommend trying it out. I give SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy a 5/10.

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NCG – Review – Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] (Steam)

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Story

Being an updated version, the game introduces 4 new characters as well as a new story mode in which players can unfold the story of the world in a Visual Novel gameplay style. When I say Visual Novel, I mean Visual Novel! There is no gameplay in this mode, but that does not mean the story is horrible. Players of the anime community will really enjoy the twists and turns in the story.Under_Night_6

Visuals

The visuals are somewhat the same from the original, and that is not a problem at all of because the game has its own distinct look and manages to keep everything pretty simple. With a 2D drawn art style that still draws me in when turning this title on, I can say a lot of gamers will like how it looks. It reminds me of Anime mixed with a dark theme such as Darkstalkers.UNIST_25

During fights the visuals of each special attack work well and look great. The menu has more of an arcade look and is simple enough where new players can navigate with ease. Even the story mode looks awesome with the visual novel art style.

Audio

The soundtrack to UNIST brings back some of the previous titles tracks as well as a few new tracks, and the new tracks still holds up to the magnificent scores for combat and story telling.UNIST_EU_Announcement_2

Gameplay

I always felt Under Night never had any spotlight in North America, and is very under rated, but with the new update I hope that changes as this title is a must have for fighting game enthusiast. The core gameplay is the same as most anime fighters, without the air dash. So, it’s sort of like The King of Fighters meets Anime! Combos are limited to one button press for standing and crouching per button, and in the air so players need to strategize what they will do in each combo. It also has an  auto combo for players that bash buttons, but this limits button mashing to execute really short combos the game wants you to learn passing and how to get in without button mashing, and this is perfect for new players wanting to join the fighting game community.UNIST_EU_Announcement_5

As I mentioned, this is a great game for new players because there is a new tutorial mode where everything is explained for fighting games in general. From executing and getting in, to how to finish combos and set up for another; this is a way to learn UNIST as wells as any other fighting essentials.UNIST_EU_Announcement_6

Of course, there is also online Ranked and Unranked play, which hold itself together pretty well but not to a perfect degree. The netcode isn’t perfect, as some matches lag even with two solid connections, but for the most part it is playable more than half of the time. And as for Ranked matches, the lobby’s will be full of veterans of the title, so I would recommend new players to not approach Ranked until you are ready to take on the best.

As mentioned, UNIST has 4 new cast members, Phonon with her whip, Mika a child with gigantic robotic hands, Wagner holding her sword and shield, and Enkidu who is pure martial arts. None of these characters feel like a rehash of previous characters or each other, and new players will be happy to see each have a different play style.

Verdict

With Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] coming out after one of the biggest fighting games this year a lot of players might miss this title. With an awesome Story mode for single player, fantastic visuals, and many more new additions, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] is a must have in my opinion. Although it lacks in online play at the moment, this is a great title for any one who is a fighting game fan our even a competitive fighting game player. I rate Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] an 8 out of 10.Score

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!

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.

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