Tag Archives: gaming reviews

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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NCG Reviews Yomawari: Midnight Shadows

Yomawari is back with another title, Yomawari: Midnight Shadows.  This is a wonderful title fit for this spooky season.  If you are looking for a title to help you get through the trick-or-treat rush, or need a couple of scares to keep up with the season, this is the perfect title for you.

Details

Title: Yomawari: Midnight Shadows
Release Date: 10/24/2017 (North America)
Developer/Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software (NIS)
Genre: Survival Horror
Platfrom: PS4, Windows, PS Vita

Story

Yomawari tends to touch on deep topics, particularly around death and loss.  Midnight Shadows follows the same theme.  The story begins with Yui and Haru watching the fireworks together for the last time; Yui will be moving to another town.  The fireworks show marks the last chance the girls will get to spend time together.  While most series signal that friendships can remain strong through distance, Haru struggles with the separation.  The separation between Yui and Haru is where the conflict of the story lies.

Throughout the game Haru desperately searches for Yui, putting herself in frightening situations.  Every time Haru seems close to finding Yui, Yui is long gone. Yui, however, is placed into new areas without a sense of how she got there; her goal is not to seek out Haru, but rather return home; to find her “home”.

Will the girls find each other in the end?

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Game Play

If you have played Yomawari: Night Alone, you’ll already have a good grasp of the game and its mechanics.

For those who are new to the series, game play is simple.  You must wander around the town to find Yui.  You can walk, run, tip-toe, pick up/throw items, turn on/off your flashlight, and hide.  You must use these skills to get through the town, which is filled with ghosts at nearly every turn.

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Midnight Shadows added a few new mechanics such as moving objects, carrying objects that give you special abilities, and exploring indoor areas. There’s also a need side-scrolling part that contrasts the usual top-down view.

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The ghosts work as a guiding mechanic.  Some areas that you should not be accessing based on where you are in the story line will be filled with ghost obstacles at every corner to deter you from going that direction; some ghosts will just outright block your path.  When you are going in the correct direction, you will have to analyze how the ghosts move and utilize what is around you to either escape from the ghost or to sneak past it.

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While the ghosts do pose a challenge, the difficulty is not to extreme. You will easily predict the movements, figure out how you need to get by, and then move forward with the story. Of course, this comes along with an infuriating amount of deaths and blood splatter.

Audio

At the beginning of the game you are told that you must put your headphones in and only focus on the screen; you have to promise that you will.  Why? Because putting in headphones immediately sucks you into the creepy atmosphere of the game.  There is no real soundtrack, but the ambient noise from buzzing streetlights, kicking up leaves, cawing raven, and the airy breath of a wondering ghost -it is enough to set the tone of the game.  The audio also works to make you leap from your seat.  When those jump scares happen, you will feel your entire body tremble!

To be safe you can play without sound, but what is the fun in that?

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Graphics

I love the style of Yomawari.  It is a combination of innocence and darkness.  The characters themselves are cute but these cute girls get lost in such a chilling atmosphere.  To depict the child-like nature of the main characters, scribble art is used frequently.  It appears in the objects found around the town and Haru’s retelling of her search for Yui.  It only drives home the child-like nature of the girls which really makes you think how the heck these girls are enduring so much terror without losing their minds.

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Despite having such a wonderful art style, I did noticed that there is a slight lag in movement.  I played this title on the PlayStation Vita and noticed that while walking or running there was a slight pause in motion when moving toward areas, or areas that needed to load.  Sometimes this felt annoying because the pacing of the game is already slow, but it reminds you that this is not a title you can just rush through.  At least not if you want the full effect of the game.

Verdict:

I’d give this title an 8 out of 10.  There is not much variation from the previous title as far as mechanics.  However, the story is compelling and the jump scares, while absolutely terrifying when they happen, are pretty fun to play through.

Score

Have you played any Yomawari titles? Will you be picking this one up for a few scares? Which is your favorite horror game? Let us know in the comments!

NCG Review – Snipers vs Thieves (IOS, Android)

Reviewed by: undED

Back in November of 2016, up and coming UK publisher Playstack announced a partnership with Swedish developer Foxglove Studios. Around the same time, Foxglove was pleased to announce their newest creation, Snipers vs. Thieves for mobile. According to an article by develop-online.net, SvP had been in development for two years, by a team of highly skilled devs with a multitude of pedigree in AAA gaming. SvP itself is an online multiplayer game centered on thieves robbing a bank, and the snipers who try to keep them from escaping. A simple premise that has a gameplay concept unlike anything else I have played on mobile.

Story

The simplicity of the game does not make much room for a story. There are not any main characters, no side characters; you just play as your own thief/sniper, which you name. Your reason for robbing a bank as a thief can only really be attributed to gathering money. As a sniper, your only motivation is to stop the thieves. The lack of story however, doesn’t hinder the game in any way. I never felt like I was missing out on anything by a lack of narrative.2-Loot-Other-Banks

Visuals

SvT sports cartoony visuals that could easily be mistaken for Team Fortress 2 (on a smaller scale). The movement of thieves is also very caricaturized, akin to Looney Tunes. Bright cars/fences/trees all help you scope out thieves against their black suits. It helps that there are several different locations for you to play in. From the city, to a farm, even shipping docks. Snipers will see thieves move very jaggedly, especially when they climb up or jump from obstacles. I lost many headshots because of this, but the challenge was welcomed.

Audio

The musical score probably matched SvT better than any other mobile game I’ve played. During the match, music was at first oddly absent. I later started to appreciate this during both thieving and sniping. In the menus however, an original, jazzy tune plays that is cheery and fun. Like everything else about SvT, the music doesn’t take itself too seriously and helped bring up my mood when I lost a match. It doesn’t convey intensity, instead the music ops to sit in the background while you methodically plan your next move.YOUTUBE TEMPLATE recent

Gameplay

Thieves will start across a map from the getaway car, with a minute or so to get away before either the sniper kills you, or the cops get there to arrest you. A series of arrows show cover you can take while making progress to the car. You have a finite amount of stamina though, so you have to plan your escape wisely, lest you slowdown in between areas leaving you open to be capped off. Thieves have grossly bigger proportioned upper bodies than lower, which makes for easier sniping. As a thief you will see smoke trails from bullets that will help you detect where you are being shot from. You can also earn bonuses to help you with your objective like ‘big head’ bullets for the sniper, and decoys for the thieves. There is even a cheeky homage to the Metal Gear series that made me laugh. By level 8 (roughly 4-5 hours in) I had enough diverse tools for each job that I could comfortably play how I wanted.YOUTUBE TEMPLATE recent

 

Verdict

Snipers vs. Thieves is a rare gem in a time when app stores are filled with “games” entirely centered on you spending money. Matchmaking is quick, never took me more than 20 seconds to get into a match, with or without Wi-Fi. Loot cases open for you every few hours so long as you remember to start the process. They are fairly generous I’d say. SvT does have micro transactions, but I never felt like any amount of money I spent would genuinely help my gameplay. If you enjoy this game, just keep playing it. Your skills will win you matches, not purchases.Score

NCG Review – Moero Chronicle

Title: Moero Chronicle
Platforms: PlayStation Vita, Steam
Genre: RPG, First Person Dungeon Crawler
Developer: Compile Heart
Publishers: Compile Heart, Sony, Idea Factory

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If you can’t get enough Monster Girls and fan service, then Moero Chronicle is right up your alley. Controversial and perverse, this title will bring you hours of moe moster fun.

Story

All the Monster Girls have gone rogue because of a terrible curse -no human who has gone to the monster girl village has come back alive.  The next hero the human village plans to send over is Io.  Io can still barely get a grasp of his own “desire” let alone talk to a girl without that “desire” going out of control. How will he be able to save the world if he can barely talk to girls?!

Io pairs up with Lillia, his childhood friend, and an otter shaped like a penis (yes, you read that right) named Otton whose hobby is collecting the sacred cloth: panties! Io journeys through Monstopia while collecting some panties and rubbing down some monster girls along the way.

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The story is pretty goofy and the main characters are pretty shallow. I keep wondering why the hell the monster girls, aside from Lillia, seem remotely interested in the main character, but story isn’t meant to be the highlight of the game.  Don’t expect anything in-depth from the main cast.  However, because it’s so silly, you’ll have a good time getting a few laughs at the over-the-top fan service and personalities.

Gameplay

Moero Chronicle is a first-person dungeon crawler.  You navigate through the dungeons and get stopped -many times- by battles that get pretty obnoxious after a while.  However, the game already knows that the battles can get tedious so an “Auto” button was added to speed things along.   As you go through the dungeons you start to collect monster girls and the regular dungeon enemies can become sidekicks for the monster girls.  Each monster girl has her own special abilities, and as you level up she learns new skills.  You can switch your team around as you see fit; you can create your ultimate moe team!  Keep in mind that each girl has her own moe trait, so you can arrange your team for ultimate effect.  Or just keep the type of girls you like around.

Like pretty much every RPG out there, battles are all turn-based.  You have Io on your “team” but he plays the role of support character.  The monster girls battle using their skills and attacks, but Io “stores” his desire and “releases” it on one girl during battle to power up her attack. However, storing his desire has a limit, and if you store too much without releasing it, well, Io needs a cooling off period… probably to go change his pants.  Io can also use items, which makes him useful for healing (if you don’t have a healer) or reviving fallen characters (if you weren’t paying attention to what happened during “Auto” mode).

Boss battles, where you fight the Monster Girls to remove their curse, requires a bit more tactic since they are weak to specific elements.  Your goal is to hit the monster girl’s armor, ultimately disrobe the girls, then “purify them” by touching them in particular places on their bodies to break their curse.  As you hit the girls, your Excitement Gauge fills up and you enter Bumping Scratch mode, where you touch the girls an increase their excitement. If you don’t succeed the monster girl will run away.  When you succeed, you can add them to the team or go back and interact with them at the Inn.  When I played, I used a PS4 controller so it was difficult to control the cursor during Bumping Scratch mode.  Often, I found myself rubbing the air and missing out on my chance to catch them.  Once you get used to using the joysticks, it’s not too difficult but can get pretty frustrating since the pointer (at least for me) tended to wander on its own. I haven’t tried playing the game with a mouse, so this aspect of the game might be a bit easier with more control.

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Outside of the dungeons, you can go back to the Inn and interact with the monster girls.  This includes talking to them when an event is available, giving them gifts, assigning a Pet Pact with an enemy you fought in a dungeon, creating new materials, changing their outfits (which gives them new skills and power based on what you pick) and everyone’s favorite: giving the girls a nice rub down!  Your goal is to gain the favor of the monster girls. Of course, this aspect of the game doesn’t really appeal to me much, but for those into cute anime girls and getting “physical” then it’s a perfect fit.

Graphics

Aside from the art style of all the anime girls, the graphics aren’t noteworthy.  The dungeons feel bland and repetitive. The monsters you battle are pretty hysterical as they are all sex related.  You literally fight a condom monster and a vibrator! Of course, diversity in monsters is also pretty limited so the humor goes away pretty quick.

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Animations is also kept to a minimum.  You don’t get to see your monster girls fighting, but rather an avatar of them at the bottom of the screen.  There are some jiggle physics happening in the boss battles, but otherwise, the overall look and design feel generic.

Verdict

Pros: You can have a lot of fun collecting monster girls and arranging them on your team however you want.  You can pick the type of moe you’re really into or get technical and keep girls with the appropriate skills for the dungeon you’re going through.  There are plenty of girls to choose from so you can have fun just mixing it up.

If you’re into touching, prodding, and poking 2D waifu’s, then this title is also a good pick since you can rub your favorite girls as much as you want.  Almost.  There are also some pretty racy costumes.

Cons: The dungeons get repetitive and boring.  The graphics are bland, and animations are  limited.  There isn’t much depth to the story and can get boring pretty fast.

Score

I’d give the game a 5/10.  It’s a fun pick if you want a few laughs, but otherwise, if you’re not into 2D anime girls, first person dungeon crawlers and bad story lines, you might be better off with another title.

 

 

 

 

 

Hover: Revolt of Gamers Review

When I heard a game was coming out that was inspired by Jet Set Radio I was so hyped to play! I first played Jet Set Radio Future, before I even knew it was a sequel? or something? I forget. Anyway, all I know is I liked both Jet Set games. Hover somewhat reminds me of Jet Set in the music and the art style -but that’s about it.  Keep in mind, this review will mostly be a comparison between Jet Set Radio and Hover.

You start out in an underground science facility and told that your body is “new”.  I wondered if my character had died or if this was just an opening for tutorial reasons. After completing the tutorial I could explore the city and interact with NPC’s. Immediately, I was thrown into races and other mini-games that felt similar to basketball. I completed a few missions (mostly races), but there seemed to be no real story behind the game.  You would get bits of characterization from the NPC’s, but nothing beyond a few quips and phrases.  Aside from the races and basketball-esque game, there are delivery missions where you deliver packages (game consoles to be exact) around the map. I can’t say I was impressed by much of the gameplay, however, what I really did like was the soundtrack. I did see a lot of inspiration from JSR and rightly so since the music was composed by Hideki Naganuma.

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Hover is a little odd. One of the inspirations it takes from JSR is the abilities to do tricks and grind on edges, which is cool, however the characters don’t seem to be wearing skates.  Instead, they wear shoes that glow on the bottom. My character pretty much looked like he was running at high speeds all across town which looked awkward. Another oddity to the game was grinding. In JSR, if you want to grind simply jumping on the rail will automatically begin the grind, however, Hover forces you to push a button in order to grind.  This can get very tedious while playing and hard to adjust to.

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I only have four real gripes about Hover. First, the music only changes when you’re in a mission. Second, the missions aren’t all that exiting. Third, the ambient noise is almost non-existent.  Fourth, what is the story? Is there even a story? As I stated earlier, the missions I played were only racing, delivery,  and that basketball-like sport. Yes, JSR and JSRF had similar missions, but those were in different locations, there was more differentiation in music, and more variety of characters. It feels like this game was created with a multiplayer game style in mind  but interestingly enough, every mission I played had no extra people in them. I was always alone vs NPC.

 

Overall, Hover ISN’T a terrible game. It gave me the nostalgic feeling to go play JSR and therein lies the problem, how can I continue playing Hover when I have JSR already? I will probably go back to Hover at some point, but right now I don’t think I want to. Since it is an online game, maybe it will get updates.  Maybe it will improve and become more interesting. This is all I can hope for. I still think you guys should try it out and see for yourself. It’s currently priced at $19.99 USD on Steam. Have you tried it already? What do you think of it? let us know in the comments!