Tag Archives: Game Reviews

NCG Review: Rise and Shine

Reviewed by NCG_Luis

A game with a simple premise: your world is being attacked, the heroes you consider the best are powerless to do anything, so it is up to you! the underage child with a magical legendary weapon to figure out what’s going on and defeat the bad guys. Easy enough Right?

Out of all the games we have played this year Rise and Shine takes the cake for the simplest idea with the hardest possible way to beat. The game has simple mechanics; Dashes, Double jumps, and shooting ranging from homed bullets to spray and pray. But it’s when the game requires you to do it all at once while solving unique ambient puzzles that lets this sides scroller take you for a ride. Along the way you will find upgrades and additions to your weapon keeping the game from ever feeling repetitive or stagnant.

I could not recommend this game enough, solid gameplay for the modern shoot and think game, it has cutesy and cartoony characters but the gameplay is anything but. If the game gives you enough time try enjoying colorful comic book like backgrounds.

NCG Review: Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls

Making its North American debut on October 18th for the PlayStation Vita, Idea Factory brings us Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls; an awesome crossover between Sega Hard Girls and the Neptunia dimension.

Story

After making it to the Grand Library, IF encounters the disaster or all disasters: history is being erased!   IF and Segami journey through time to uncover the mystery of why history is being erased.  As they jump to different eras (Sega eras) they discover the CPU’s and Sega Hard Girls are at odds with one another sending waves of destruction across the land.  It is up to Segami and IF to make things right and restore history. Where is Neptune in this story (she is in the title after all)? She’s IF’s motorcycle, of course!

Game Play

The game plays similar to the basic RPG style of turn-based Neptunia games. What makes the game play stand out from other titles is the variety of action you can take during a turn. For example, you can run, jump, and collect gem power ups (for more SP, HP, etc.) including a special rainbow gem that unleashes Fever Time when you have reached maximum fever. Your action is limited to your meter gauge; the more actions your perform during a turn your gauge will increase and max out. This increases the amount of actions you can take per turn so you can hit a monster or two, buff up, or heal if you need to.  Adventuring through the levels is also a lot of fun because you can jump, climb, and run through the level; the playing field is more dynamic.  Of course, you still have the generic monsters roaming area.2016-10-05-200850

Graphics

I can’t say the graphics are spectacular or off the chart.  You are still venturing in essentially the same levels and encounter the same monsters that are in every other Neptunia game out there.  Action cut scenes when you unleash a special move are also nothing to boast about.  The game feels like it should be on the PlayStation 4 platform VS the Vita because moves and cut scenes feel choppy.2016-10-18-190621

Verdict

Pros: The story is fun to play through and meeting the Sega Hard Girls in a Neptunia game is the perfect mix; they belong together.  It was also awesome seeing other Sega Hard Girls (outside of Mega Drive, Saturn, and Dreamcast) each with their own personalities relative to their systems. Neptune makes the game (for me, anyway) taking on the role of comic relief; Segami and IF are both pretty serious characters so Neptune breaks the tension. Neptune is especially funny because she becomes a motorcycle;  I’d say it makes the perfect material for jokes. 2016-10-10-201040

The addition of running, jumping, climbing, and crawling creates a more dynamic feel to the Dungeons.  Actions are limited, but it gives you more to do other than run through to fight monsters and search for the Event point; it pushes you to explore entire maps.

Cons: I was so disappointed that I’m not actually playing the Sega Hard Girls.  Instead, they’re “clones” gathered from data or Segami transforms into them and uses their powers.  Sure, you can argue you are still playing as the Sega Hard Girls, but having them be a “clone” removes me from their character and I feel like it took away from the novelty of even having them on my team. That’s not to say you’re not meeting the “real” Sega Hard Girls, but their personalities do fall short compared to the show.  However, I do like stepping away from the main Neptunia cast and getting in some game play with new characters. Plutia has become a new fave.2016-10-12-222635

The story feels like it hits a dead end too soon.  Early on, you unravel the mystery and the game goes from playing a story into playing missions to level up so you can defeat the anti-climatically revealed boss.  Each mission weakens the boss and that gives you ample time to level up and beat it.  Where’s the surprise and lust to continue when you already know what it is?

I felt the game was also unbalanced.  You are given missions, but some of them are impossible to beat.  There’s also an imposed time limit where you have an X amount of time to clear the mission, otherwise your final monster gets the upper-hand and you have to delve into the past once more.  Some missions supplement the story, but I hit the point where I have to (no surprise, this is an RPG after all) grind to level up and fight a boss.  Since I wasn’t leveled up enough, and the mission didn’t give me an idea of how strong I needed my team to be, I was fighting battles where my attacks did zero damage and my entire team was taken out in one hit.  Then, it was back to the Main Menu with a lot of grumbling on my part.  Dungeons also felt unbalanced since the monsters didn’t level up with my characters.  There was no consistent challenge -I either took monsters out in one hit, or I was completely annihilated in one blow.

Overall, the game did not meet my expectations.  The story is fun, and of course I love the characters.  I loved how the game was a little more dynamic letting you adventure more through the levels, but being so unbalanced and turning the story into missions deterred my enjoyment.  Not to mention you aren’t actually playing as the Sega Hard Girls.  Fans of the franchise will appreciate it, but don’t pick up the title with high expectations.

Will you be picking up this game? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death (PSVITA)

4MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death for the Playstation Vita is one of the latest titles from Idea Factory and, I have to say, I really had an adventure playing this JRPG. MeiQ is a JRPG with Mech Customization, a story of Machina Mages, and many dungeons full of creatures that randomly attack you.

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Story

MeiQ is set in a world that has fallen under an eternal night. Five Machina Mages now have to make their way through the four tower mazes and undergo various rituals, form contracts with various Guardians to restart the world, and bring an end to  eternal night. You play as Estra, one of the five chosen Machina Mages who specializes in Earth-element Machina Magic, along with the other four mages: Flare, who specializes in Fire-element Machina Magic; Connie, who specializes in Wood-element Machina Magic; Maki, who specializes in Metal-element Machina Magic; and Setia, who specializes in Water-element Machina Magic.

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Each character was unique and had distinct personalities that brought the story together. For example: the friendly rivalry with Flare and her smart alec remarks, each encounter with the Guardians, and how sometimes characters got in the way. There were times where you can tell the encounters with Connie were just filler and this sometimes got pretty annoying. For the length of the story, though, it isn’t a really long story and ends once you’re leveled up to a curtain point, however, the story is quite memorable and players will enjoy the journey. Players will enjoy making their way through each chapter, interacting with different character, and seeing what they have to do to make it though each tower to get to the very end.

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Gameplay

When I started playing MeiQ, I did not know what I was getting into except that this was a new title from NIS America, and that it was a dungeon crawler. Little did I know the game was a little more than that.

When players first jump into this title they will notice the first person perspective, which is fun, but also has it flaws. While exploring the towers you will find yourself not really looking at the main view of direction that is presented, but instead looking at the overview map on the side of your screen. This is mainly because it is one of the only ways you can navigate through the towers without bumping into walls or heading in the wrong direction.

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As for the battle system, players will notice they will have a party of mages and Guardians that are both recruited while progressing through the story. Guardians are one of the main aspects of the battle system. While in battle, you will notice your Guardians have certain move sets. Each move set is developed when you customize your Guardian using the equipment parts and crystals found through the maps.

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This is where the game shines because you will find yourself customizing and enhancing the Guardians move sets and appearance to take on your foes. Each crystal and part has specific elements that will help you counter your opponents element.  When entering the first few battles, players will notice their character is over powered and can take anything out in one hit, but this does not last long. Afterwards, battles get tougher and introduces players to how the mechanics of the game actually work. However, you will eventually have to grind to level up to take on new Guardians and enemies. This makes the game start to feel tedious when all you want to do is see what happens next in the story.

Verdict

MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death holds its ground as a unique title with its battle system, story, characters, and even boss battles.  However, the game felt too short, not all characters were memorable, and eventually the game became tedious after a certain point. I would recommend this game as something to play for a quick fix, but after beating the game, the replay value isn’t there.

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Review – Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors (PSVITA)

Published for the PlayStation Vita by NIS, Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors is a sexy game where you have 8 babes under your command.  Even before release, the game has had much controversy due to content and changes made during localization.  You can pick your bandwagon, but personally, the changes  (mostly in artwork and select wording) made little difference to me.

Story
You are sent to hell and must go through the the Reformation Program to reform a group of delinquent girls.  You have lost all of your memories and need to find a way to gain their trust. With so many rowdy girls, you must figure out how to get them to wor2016-09-07-130620k as a team and keep them in line by using a little “Motivation.”  Before even going through the Reformation Program,  Convicts (souls that did not successfully complete the Reformation Program) have taken over and thrown the Reformation Program and its leaders into chaos.  You must find a way to get out of the hell dungeons, and back on track with the Reformation Program but since it’s Hell, the course won’t be easy. Along the way, the girls face themselves, find strength from one another and from your little “Motivation”
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Gameplay
Much like the first game, Party Favors is dungeon crawler JRPG.  As you venture through2016-09-14-102434 Hell you must clear the dungeons and fight convicts along the way.  Fighting convicts will earn you CM (the game’s form of money), and with special “tools” you’ll need Motivate the girls to unlock moves.  One change, compared to the previous game Criminal Girls: Invite Only, is that you can pick and choose each girls’ moves.  The move you select determines whether they are more  “S” side, or more “M”.  This comes into play later during battles.  What pretty cool about choosing their moves is you have the option to reset them if you find one style isn’t working for you.  Strengthening the girls relies heavily on “Motivation” and leveling up fighting Convicts; Motivation being more central to the game.

2016-09-12-044313Battles are turn based.  You can only pick one character to attack. It’s hard to predict how strong the convicts you are fighting are and there’s no system in place to tell you when they will attack.  You definitely need to have a stock of healing items to cure ailments and keep your girls alive.  Of course, certain characters have healing capabilities, but sometimes it consumes too much MP which could be better spent on attacks.  On top of that, you don’t get to select specific moves from each of the girls, rather, you have to choose whatever they feel like using in battle for that tu2016-09-07-201927rn.  Battle is also made a little more interesting in that as their Reformation Leader, you can “Coach” them through battles.  You can cheer them on, scold them, and so on. Depending on the moves you selected for them (S or M) they will have a positive or negative reaction in battle.

Graphics
2016-09-07-130937The girls are sprites while you crawl through the dungeon, but during “Motivation” time they are  2-D animations that react to your action; they jiggle and blush from the action.  The more you Motivate them, the more the scene reveals to. They are also 2-D drawings during the dialogue but, like most JRPG’s, are static.

Each level has it’s own design and feel.  Depending on which part of Hell you are in, the dungeon will look different.

Music
If you’ve played Criminal Girls: Invite Only, then a lot of the music will 2016-09-07-222827sound familiar to you.  The Motivation and Rest music hasn’t changed much.  Since each dungeon has it’s own design, the music is also meant to match the feel of the dungeon.  I think the background gives the game a very “Playful” vibe, which is essentially what the creators are going for with the game.  As you journey through, the girls will also talk while you’re walking making it feel like you are actually leading these girls through hell.

Verdict
2016-09-29-115916Pros: There are a lot of new elements introduced into the game to make is stand out from the previous title.  The fan service stepped up a notch.  Girls are “Motivated” in pairs, or solo and the detail that goes into the motivation is pretty amusing. You’ll definitely be wondering how the heck some of the content even made it into a game. The story isn’t completely recycled, although, there are a lot of similarities to the first game.  The game is pretty easy to pick up, especially for those who are new to Criminal Girls.

Cons: The game is about 90% fan service and very little story. The game heavily relies on “Motivation”, in fact, that’s pretty much what the entire game is: unlocking those sexy scenes! In order to get the motivation scenes you need CM and that means grinding battles like no tomorrow!

Enemies are fairly hard to defeat, especially bosses. Even if you’ve Motivated the girls to their full potential you will still find yourself needing to grind through battles to level up.  In the end, I felt like I couldn’t sit through the game for long periods of time because I didn’t want to just battle monsters for an hour just to get more moves, level up, and barely escape a boss fight2016-09-07-131222 -I really just wanted to get to the story!

Moves you unlock for the girls aren’t really effective and girls share similar moves, they even share similar moves from the first game.  For example, both Kuroe and Tsukasa have ice powers and healing powers.  Elemental moves don’t really have an effect on the monsters so it’s difficult to find a weakness and exploit it. This can be considered somewhat or a pro because even if the elemental move is irrelevant, the move can still slow down, paralyze, confuse, or poison an enemy -if it is a successful hit.

If you want to pick up a controversial title with some sexy scenes, Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors is a good buy.  I had a lot of fun with the first game, and the second one definitely makes you strategize your attacks and item consumption. With the new features added to the game, you definitely don’t feel like you’re playing the first game over again. For me, it wasn’t a title to sit through, but one to pick up and kill some time with.

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Will you try out Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors?  Have you played Criminal Girls: Invite Only?  Any additional comments? Let us know!

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs Review

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters Daybreak: Special Gigs, or Tokyo Twilight: SG for short, is an Adventure game turn based strategy game about ghost hunting . This game is actually an updated version of another game which means this updated version of the game has extra features  the original version didn’t have. Unfortunately, I did not play that game so this review comes from a new-to-the-series perspective.

Visuals
Unlike other Story/Adventure games Tokyo Twilight: SG has moving sprites of the characters. It’s something I’m not used to and was odd at first, but as I got used to it, I felt that they were actually pretty neat. The backgrounds, though, are a different matter. They aren’t interactive; it’s just a background. Finally, the turn based part of the game is nothing to look at its just tiles and symbols which, admittedly, was kinda of confusing to look at.

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Story
The story opens with the protagonist transferring to a new school and running into the class president, her friend, the to-be CEO of Gatekeepers (the Ghost hunters), and one of the employees who happens to be a classmate. After a tour with the class president, things quickly escalate into you helping exercise a ghost! Quite a quick move towards the action. So as not to spoil too much, thats all I will say on the story, but overall it was very enjoyable it is definitely the strong point of Tokyo Twilight: GS.

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Audio
I was not very impressed with the audio of this game. If you stay on a “page” or battle for too long, the music just gets repetitive, but that’s OK  because you can always turn it down; you won’t miss out on anything. The only time I didn’t have the game on silent was when I got to a new area just to hear the new music that might be playing.

 

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Gameplay
The game play was actually pretty hard when it came down to the turn based part of the game. I feel like the battle system was not explained too well and when I was finally given the reigns I found myself really confused. All the game told me was, “Try to anticipate the ghost’s movements.” Really helpful, game! Once I got used to it, I was able to play a little better, but it only really got harder. Outside of battle was even more confusing. There was no explanation, at all, about what the choice wheels meant or did. I had to guess a lot at first and learn from there. There are 2 wheels. The first wheel had an emotion: Love, Friendship, Anger, Sadness, Anxiety. The second wheel had a sense: Taste, Hearing, Touch, Smell, Sight. Combining these resulted in odd reactions from people. For example, the first thing I did was choose touch and love, which just resulted in me trying to touch a character I hardly knew much to that characters disgust. I had no idea what I was doing at first, it could have been explained a little at least, rather than not at all.

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Verdict
Despite its short comings I really enjoyed Tokyo Twilight: SG, the story had me hooked even if the battles were so hard that I had to do some of them more than once. If you have not played Tokyo Twilight then I say play the 2016 version instead, unless you want to find out what the differences are between that one and Special Gigs.

Think you will try it? Let us know in the comments!