Tag Archives: Gaming Review

NCG Review – Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (PS4)

Want to play a MMO, but with the Neptunia CPU’s? Well you’re in luck….sort of! Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is a title that mimics every aspect of what a good MMO has to offer, as well as keeping the Neptunia story telling from previous titles of the series. The only thing though is that it is not a MMO, but a single player title that acts like a MMO.Cyberdimension_JP-(8).png

Story

When jumping into any Neptunia title, your are not supposed to take the story seriously since most titles are for pure entertainment. Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is no different. This time you find the CPU’s with some early access codes to test out a beta for an upcoming MMO titled “4 Goddess Online” set in the land of Alsgard. When they first enter the beta they run into Bouquet, a NPC with advance AI, who then tells them they are the chosen Ones that are tasked to save the land from the Demon King Jester by awakening the 4 goddesses.Inspired_customization (2).png

The story is fitting for a Neptunia title, but it is also not for all players, as it’s more comedic and is never serious. One thing I did like was that it has references to other media such as SOA (Sword Art Online), even a character that resembles the main hero of SOA. The story is recommended for any anime or Neptunia fan, and will fulfill the anime game fix, but there is nothing story wise for new players.

Audio

As I made my way through the different dungeons, fields and even the only town, I found myself really enjoying the soundtrack for each spot. It really brought each section to life, as well as made them really stick out. Weather it was the slow soothing music from the town, the epic exploration tune for the volcanic areas, or even the dramatic but yet ready for action tune from the dungeon, I felt like the soundtrack was superb and engaging. This is a highly recommended soundtrack to check out.Battle (9).png

Gameplay

The game play is where the game shines, with its MMO aspects and hack and slash game play, all players will enjoy everything this game has to offer. Customization is a huge and fun part of Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online. Players will find themselves losing hours unlocking new items  to make their character their own and you are never feeling at a lost as you make your way through each battle with the customized character. Grinding to accomplish each quest and not to mention that the engine runs off Unreal 4, makes the game wonderful to look at and any player will notice with the new engine that Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is well polished. Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online_20170802151119

Even though the game is a hack and slash the title never gets repetitive, and feels like a new adventure. I really liked how the MMO game play was implemented; it felt like a new style of game play to me. Leveling up never felt more satisfying and new missions always had me wanting more. As I mention in the other categories, this title isn’t for everyone, but it is for the fans, and will have players playing for hours. They also brought back the online play where instead of AI’s taking control of each characters other players take in that place. This is super enjoyable and is one of the main reasons to come back to this title.Cyberdimension_JP-(5).png

Verdict

Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is definitely a title to check out, with its game play that gives it its own identity, and the very addicting grinding system, as well as the magnificent soundtrack, players will feel part of the land of Alsgard. I really recommend anime fans, JRPG fans, and MMO fans to buy this title, as for new player, it is a game you must check out. I give Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online an 8 out of 10, as I know I will come back to this title from days on end.

Score

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NCG Review – Danganronpa V3 Killing Harmony ( PS4/PSVITA )

Details

Title: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Genre: Interactive Visual Novel
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Publisher: NIS America
Release Date: September 26, 2017 (NA)

 

Story

I would LOVE to do a segment on the story, however, this is one of those titles where I definitely don’t want to ruin it for everyone. Maybe in the future when it’s really eating at me… We shall see.  The game has been released in Japan since the beginning of the year, but if you’ve stayed off the internet what happens will be, like all Danganronpa games, a twisted ride.

What I really enjoyed about the plot line is that it is not centered on Despair, rather, there’s an overwhelming theme of identifying the truth.  Whether it be trusting what you see, political or religious beliefs, what is presented to you by the media and what you yourself experienced, there’s this underlying desire for truth and a need to uncover it through all the deceit around you.  And yet, even if you reach a truth, there are many lies still circling around it.

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Getting into the title felt difficult because the cast is initially off putting but as you go through the story, characters really start to grow on you.  Heck, I even think Keebo is pretty cool.  Character personalities tend to take a drastic turn, and while they develop to some extent, sometimes they fall flat into a character arch type.

Despite all the tragedies that occur in the killing game, there is still a good balance between humor and horror. With all the pop-culture and nerd references peppered throughout the game, there are still a few laughs mixed in with the tears. What? No… I didn’t cry!

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Gameplay

With Danganronpa V3 Killing Harmony, gameplay is pretty much the same as previous titles, but with a few new twists.  The pacing of the overall story is similar to past titles: Free time, Investigation, Class Trial. This is nice because you feel right at home in the Danganronpa world; you already have a good “feel” for the game.  When you get into the class trials, you are prepared for all of the changes that will be thrown at you.

If V3 is the first title in the series you are picking up, tutorials will guide you through the debates.  They are not overwhelming or excessively annoying.

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The class trials run similar to previous games where you play mini-games to uncover the Blackened but most mechanics for the mini games have been upgraded.  Non-stop debates offer more stylish text effects that can throw you off. Text also interferes more often with statements.

In addition to the basic non-stop debate, you have the ability to lie.  This replaces taking a statement and using it against a classmate.  I found the lying aspect to be humorous.  Mostly because the protagonist is such a terrible liar!

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Another addition to the non-stop debates are the Mass Panic debates. You need to find the inconsistency and shoot the contradictory statement… with three voices talking at once.  Not only is there text flying in all directions, voices talk over one another.  Throughout the Mass Panic Debates, sometimes one voice will be louder than others and will need to be shut down in order for you to hit a contradictory statement (if there is one present) from another speaker.

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Hangman’s Gambit has evolved to Hangman’s Gambit Ver. 3.0.  Instead of selecting visible letters floating across the screen, all letters are hidden.  The board will occasionally light revealing the letters, but it is difficult to discern the word you are looking for without all given letters visible.

Psyche Taxi takes over Logic Dive.  You must drive and hit letter blocks to reveal the question, then you pick a lane to answer it. This was my second least favorite mini-game.  I had more fun and more of a challenge doing the Logic Dive from Danganronpa 2.

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The Rebuttal Showdown, where you slice words with a sword, is still present but the controls have become more clunky and difficult to control. This is because you have to use your joystick to move the sword rather than the Vita touch screen.  It was much easier to swipe the words away than to line your pointer up with the letters.  This definitely made it much more challenging.

Argument Armament has replaced the Panic Talk Action.  Argument Armament is the same concept, but also incorporates more rhythm game mechanics. Panic Talk Action was always my least favorite mini-game during class trails, so Argument Armament also takes the title for my least favorite mini-game of DRV3.  I love rhythm games, however, I always struggle to find the beat or the right pattern for the debate which makes my timing completely off the mark.  Argument Armament also “strips” the character down, so each successful hit takes off a layer of clothes… Do we really need to keep stripping down every damn anime character?

There are two mini games added: Mind Mine, where you will need to clear away all the blocks to reveal the board and select the correct object out of the three presented to you.  There is also Scrum Debates.  Scrum Debates happen when the class is divided in opinion.  As the opposing side presents their argument, you need to find the keyword of their statement to counter their opinion.

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What makes the mini-games more interesting compared to previous titles is the Casino.  During Free Time you have a chance to visit the Casino and re-play some of the mini games.  Plus you get the slot machine; it’s just like gambling in real life -you hardly win big!  The coins you win from the mini-games can be exchanged for gifts.  The Monomono machine is also still in the game.

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Graphics

I played this title on both consoles.  While I definitely prefer the comfort of handheld systems, playing on the PS4 brought the game to life.  Generally, visual novels aren’t graphically stimulating.  Playing on the PS4 made a noticeable difference for class trials. The frame rate runs much faster, and the layers of  characters and text make the scenes feel more interactive.

One thing that really jumps out is how bland the overall color scheme of the game is.  Compared to previous titles where colors are vibrant and eye-catching, DRV3 uses a lot of blues and purples.  I think this gives the game a darker tone, but also doesn’t make the title jump out the way its predecessors have.

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Audio

What I love about Danganronpa is that when you hear the soundtrack, you definitely know you are playing a Danganronpa game.  DRV3 brings in old favorites with a new mix that perfectly fits the overall tone for certain areas you explore.

PS4 VS Vita

I am always right at home on a handheld.  I find it much easier to get into a game if I have the convenience of playing it wherever the heck I want to.

That being said, Danganronpa being available on the PS4 and Vita was something new.  I haven’t really picked up visual novel titles for anything but a handheld and I always have a hard time getting into them if they’re not on a handheld system.  However, I recommend playing Danganronpa on the PS4. Not only did I get a bigger screen to watch the action of Danganronpa unfold, the class trials really stood out as a new experience.  Frame rates were much higher making the pointer a bit harder to control on the PlayStation 4 system, but the layered text effect and motion across the screen really  made the game feel more up close and personal.

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Of course, I still played the majority of the game on my Vita since I am out of the house more often than home but I definitely noticed the slight change in graphics and the slower frame rates made a huge difference in the overall feel of a class trial.

Keep in mind, if you can’t decide which system you want it for, buy the title for both consoles! It’s easy to cross save your game and switch between portable and stationary.

Verdict

Pros: Sprinkled with humorous pop culture references and being the same ol’ killing game we all love, DRV3 always keeps you guessing until the very end.  You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; and maybe you’ll sit in disbelief for an hour because how could that character die?!  Despite this being the 3rd entry of the High School Killing game (Despair Girls and Future Foundation don’t count) there are still many surprises thrown at you.  Even if you know the formula, from beginning to end you still can’t predict what will happen next.

There are plenty of new game play styles for class trials.  I think developeres did an excellent job making something feel old, yet still be entirely new.

Graphics on the PS4 give you a different game play experience compared to a handheld, but cross saving options will let you jump back and forth between systems.  That is, if you want to throw down the extra cash.

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Cons: This is mostly my fan opinion, but this is my least favorite entry to the series.  Characters were difficult to warm up to and fell flat in the end. The ending didn’t feel quite as moving as previous games.

During class trials, the pointer can be extremely difficult to control.  Being unable to control the cursor made some class trial aspects feel tedious and just straight up annoying.

The color scheme is muted, so the title does not pop in ways the previous titles have.

I would love to give Danganronpa a 10, but I am going to have to take it down to an 8.  Characters were hard to warm up to, the story doesn’t feel entirely compelling, and while some of the mini-games have been upgraded some of the controls felt clunky.

Score

This is a must-have for all Danganronpa fans.  Not only do you see what is happening in the Danganronpa world but also because of how the game itself has evolved as far as mechanics and story.

Which is your favorite title in the Danganronpa series? Have you picked up V3 yet? Have you encountered anything that took you completely by surprise? Let us know in the comments.

NCG Review: Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories

Aksys Games brings a new detective story to the Nintendo 3Ds.  Released October 13th in North America, Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories, lets player step into the role of two detectives, Shounosuke Nanase and Koto Amekuru, to unravel a mystery of the past.

Story
Tipped off by an anonymous phone call, detectives Shounosuke Nanase and Koto Amekura must re-investigate an explosion that happened five years in the past. The detectives must uncover whether or not the explosion was an accident or a crime scene by re-examining the evidence and interviewing their suspects.

Game Play
Chase: Cold Case Investigations – Distant Memories is a visual novel adventure.  As you play through story, you must pay close attention to the dialogue to uncover the facts and find the clues that will lead to the perpetrator.   Most prompts have no more than four choices.  If you guess wrong, your meter will deplete.  Aside from the prompts, you must identify clues hidden within photos of the crime scene.

Verdict
Pros: The game has a strong enough story to keep players interest.  Through re-examining the clues and speaking with the suspects you uncover the truth and learn to stop working based on assumptions.  The story is very fitting for those who like the detective genre and there are just enough layers to the story to keep players in the game until the end.

Cons: While the story is intriguing, you don’t get enough of it.  Gameplay is about two hours, more or less, and the ending is so open ended you feel like you missed something. I wouldn’t call this a complete game since it felt like it was a prologue to a bigger, longer game. Shounosuke Nanase feels like a complex character with secrets of his own, but they are never revealed and cannot be revealed because of the length of the game.

Unlike other detective titles that challenge your skills of deduction, Chase walks you through the mystery.  If you were reading the dialogue, choosing the right answer when prompted and uncovering the right clues is extremely simple. The meter, which depletes when you make the wrong selection, feels like it’s just for show so the game feels like a “game”;  there’s really no way you can actually get a “Game Over” unless you weren’t paying attention to the dialogue.

If you want great, in-depth characters, this is the wrong place to look.  The characters are flat, and while they are driven by their emotions because of what has happened in the past, they’re pretty straight forward and fall into basic archetypes. Shounosuke Nanase is your basic, apathetic senior detective, and Koto Amekura is your basic up-and-coming detective ready to prove herself.

For the price of $5.99, you get what you pay for.  I recommend the game for those who enjoy the detective genre, and are fans of director Taisuke Kanasaki, but not for anyone who is looking for a detective title that can sit beside Pheonix Wright.  Do you like mystery games? Which is your favorite title? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Review: Yomawari Night Alone (PSVita, PC)

Available for the PlayStation Vita and Steam October 25, 2016, NIS America brings Yomawari: Night Alone to North America and Europe just in time for the Halloween season.

Story
Poro and Sis are missing.  It is up to you, the protagonist, to go out into the night to find them. There are scary things in the night, but not knowing where Sis is feels even scarier.  You must explore your neighborhood and escape the scary things that go bump in the night.

The story is emotionally driven and becomes more than surviving the night to find your sister.  Through the story the protagonist must come to understand mortality. [SPOILER] The protagonists initial denial of her dog, Poro, dying at the beginning of the game and her inability to admit to her sister that the dog has died starts her journey. Most objects you encounter are related to death or the dead somehow -you are not just trying to survive the night, you are trying to come to terms with the reality of death that surrounds you.

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Game play
Yomawari: Night Alone is a 2D, top down survival horror.  Armed with only a flashlight, you cannot fight any of the monsters you encounter but must try to outrun them or sneak by without them coming into contact with you. You have the option to “Hide” or “Run”, but your running meter is limited especially if the character is scared. Most times you’ll need to analyze how the monsters move in order to figure out how to avoid them. Game play is exploring, collecting objects, and puzzle solving.

Most events are fairly short, but worthwhile when  you encounter them.  The simplicity of the game play translates the vulnerability of you character so the player feels the terror of what surrounds your character.

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Visuals
The overall atmosphere of the game is eerie. The visible play area is a circumference of light around your character and whatever your flashlight illuminates.  You cannot rotate the camera, and quite often your vision will be obscured with the background; a tactic certain to make your heart pound a little bit because who knows what is lurking in the places you can’t see.  What makes the game stand out is the simple hand drawn 2D animation. Each monster is not elaborately drawn out but they still manage to feel very creepy.

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Audio
The audio, or lack there of, sets the tone of the game.  Most background noise you hear is ambient noise (crickets/cicadas, electrical humming, etc), the character’s footsteps, and the heart rate system where the heart rate increases when ghosts/danger lurks nearby.  This makes the game one of those games that will have you jumping out of your seat if you’re in the dark with your headphones.

Verdict
Pros:  Each element (story, game play, audio, visual) work hand in hand with one another to create a chilling environment and one aspect of the game doesn’t over power the other. Even though it is simple, it gets is message across and still manages to pull out a few jump scares.  This is one game I feel better playing with the lights on without my headphones, but the experience is that much more enhanced with them on.

I feel an emotional connection with the main character; a little girl who loses her dog and then her older sister.  Her pure determination to find them drives the story forward, even when you (the player) don’t even want to go the end of the block because of what is waiting for you. I also enjoy that the mentality of a young girl remains in tact through story, especially with the collectible objects.  As you read through each description, you discover the character has attached an emotional meaning with each object, much like a child would do.

There’s a slight replay value for those who like collecting trophies and achievements. There are variety of collectibles to pick up; some in some pretty hard to get to places.  But, the completionist will find their way back into the neighborhood.

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Cons: The game can be simple, or complicated.  The game doesn’t necessarily tell you where to go, but seasoned gamers can easily pick up which direction to go. The challenge is eliminated when the game allows you to keep important objects even after you have been caught by a ghost.  You don’t really have to go back and analyze the patterns of how the ghosts move since you can basically just run in, grab the object, die, and start at a nice cozy save point.

If you happen to miss the event spawn point, there will be a lot of back tracking and at times this can feel pretty tedious.

Yomawari: Night Alone is the perfect game for October or when you want a good scare.  It’s not gory, but it doesn’t need to be gory in order for you to feel the terror of the night.  With its quiet atmosphere, creepy creatures, and story Yomawari: Night Alone easily made it to the top of my Favorite Horror Game list. To get the most out of this title, play in the dark with your headphones; you’ll be jumping out of your seat a few times.

Will you be picking up this title? What if your favorite “scary” game? Let me know in the comments.