Tag Archives: NIS America

NCG Review: The Caligula Effect: Overdose (Switch, PS4, PC)

Wanting to forget about the pain of our daily lives is something a majority of us are familiar with, after all, we spend countless hours glued to our phones mindlessly browsing through social media or playing games.  But what would happen if a sentient being created a world for us to live in and be forever happy? Would you want to live in this paradise?21.png

The Caligula Effect: Overdose takes us into the world of Mobius where the lines of fantasy and reality are blurred.  Will you want to live in Mobius?

Story

Created by the sentient vocaloid program, μ (Mu), Mobius is a place for people to forget about their everyday problems and re-live a blissful high school life.  In a setting where fantasy and reality are blurred, the “Go Home Club”, who have awaken to the falsehoods of Mobius, attempt to escape this false paradise.

To be honest, I wasn’t quite familiar with the premise of The Caligula Effect, but I had watched the first couple episodes of the anime and completely forgot about it.  After picking up the game I decided to revisit the anime series.14.png

I played the game for about 5 hours before jumping into the anime series, which was a decent amount of time spent on the game.  In many instances, I usually say the game is better since there is a lot of time to build the story, however, I hate to admit that the anime captures the emotional impact of the game in a clearer and more concise way.

While playing, I found it difficult to balance my interest in the story with the variety of game play elements.  When presented with story line topics, the game fell flat.  The characters want to escape Mobius, but in game there’s an overall apathy about actually trying to escape.  The characters don’t quite come off quite as strong in the video game.

Gameplay

What makes the Caligula Effect: Overdose stand out is the unique combat system.  Although battles are a turn-based, you have the option to customize your battle.  You can pick from your character skills and attack with a single character up to three times.  What’s really cool is that the game will go into a prediction mode and you can watch how the actions and battle moves will play out before you commit to them.  In addition to seeing how moves will play out, you have the option to adjust the timing of your moves.  You can adjust the timing of a hit to be delayed or for the character to attack sooner; it’s like crafting your own battle.  You can do this for each character on your team and strategize your attacks based on the character skills.  Of course, predictions are not 100% accurate and sometimes will not indicate when the opponent will be defeated.  You have to pay close attention and take some risks when designing your battle. Overall, this was an element I really enjoyed since it takes basic “turn based” game play to a different level.08.png

The Caligula Effect: Overdose is your basic RPG game so you have the options to complete missions and side quests.  Accessing side quests is a bit unique since it’s based on your relationship with NPCs.  All the students walking around are the people that inhabit Mobius.  Based on your social connections and reputation you can talk to them and learn about their problems and struggles.  When you reach a certain level of friendship you’ll learn more about what is troubling them and will have to help them resolve their issues. To take it a step further, you can access a sub menu called “LINE” and communicate with the friends you have made by sending texts.  However, the prompts are repetitive and even if you’ve already asked the question the prompt will reappear.  Responses are all generic and you can get the gist of the character personality, but there are so many characters to chat with it’s easy to get overwhelmed and bored with this function of the game.06.png

Audio

μ (Mu) is the creator of Mobius so it’s fitting to have her songs performing in the background.  It’s her music, after all, that influences the characters and keeps them brainwashed.  You get a really fun J-pop track playing throughout the level.  While the songs are all fun and catchy, I didn’t feel inclined to stay in a particular area too long since the chorus is on permanent loop throughout the level.

Verdict

Pros: The battle system is a lot of fun and the game offers a variety of game play elements to delve into.17.png

Cons: The story doesn’t hit quite as hard during game play.  After a while the music can start to irk your nerves.

Overall score:

I’d give it a 5.  It isn’t a must-have, but might be something worth picking up on sale. You might have a better time catching the anime instead.Score

Have you played this game? What did you think? Are you a fan of the anime?

Let me know in the comments!

 

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NCG Review – Disgaea 1 Complete (Switch, Playstation 4)

The Disgaea series has been around since the PS2 era, and has made its was to other consoles including PC, and now the series is celebrating its 15th anniversary by releasing a remastered version of the first title and naming it Disgaea 1 Complete for Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4. But does it still hold up as a solid title after all of the years that have passed?

Visual

The key to Disgaea 1 Complete is that it’s a remastered version of the original title, Disgaea Hour of Darkness, and with that upgrade comes smoother and more crisp sprites for the characters and environments! All of this looks fantastic with the HD upgrade, as it seems to be built off the engine of the newest title Disgaea 5 Complete. Anyone who loves the cute and quirky look of the series will feel right at home, as well as remember why the series put NIS on the map, as everything seems to reminisce and also feel new all at once.comparison.png

Audio

The soundtrack of the Disgaea series has always had given the series its own identity, and coming back to the OST of Disgaea 1 Complete will keep players enjoying the tunes that helped make the series stand out. Whether it is the menu music, the hub music, or even the battle music for each scene. Players will enjoy the OST as they did with the original.DISGAEA 1 COMPLETE_20180622145414

Gameplay

Anyone that knows the newer Disgaea titles know that the series is a tactical RPG that has a unique gameplay style, which includes a lot of grinding. Players will find themselves grinding to progress throughout the story, as the difficulty level spikes up really fast. Disgaea 1 Complete isn’t one of those titles where you can just run through the story, and that was something huge with RPG’s back in the PS2 era, which gave me a sense of connection to my characters because of how much time I put into them to be where they are at now. The grinding isn’t that bad in the series for that reason alone, as it gives players a challenge and a sense of accomplishment as they progress.DISGAEA 1 COMPLETE_20180622174206

Verdict

If you have never played any of the Disgaea titles, Disgaea 1 Complete is a great way to start the journey. Digaea 1 brings back all of the aesthetics that made the series what it is today.  Even better, you can take the series with you on the go. If you enjoy tactical RPG’s that will need some dedication to progress I highly recommend picking this up. I give Disgaea 1 Complete a 8 out of 10, since it still stands up as a solid grind fest that isn’t tiring.Score

NCG Review – Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (Nintendo Switch)

Hello everyone! I apologize for my extreme delay in submitting this review.  I really wanted to sit down with this title and explore the game to the full extent.  Lucky for me, this comes after the announcement for the release of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana Accolades.  Definitely pick it up!

I’ll start this review off by saying I have not played any of the previous Ys titles, so Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana will be my first in the series.  This review also comes after the backlash of the initial release.  The version I was able to play was for the Nintendo Switch, which included all the promised patches for the game.  That being said, my review is from the perspective of a new comer, and a player who didn’t experience the first wave release of the game.2018081221212000-5833A8D7B8549416BB4EBE5DC8B38D6C

Story

After the Lombardia was attacked by a mysterious sea creature, passengers are washed onto the island Seiren.  Survivors must band together, find other passengers, protect their camp and find a way off of the island.  The game starts out as mere survival and then builds with unexpected things happening at every turn.  Ancient beasts, mysterious notes, strange dreams, and even more! I would love to go more into the story but I really don’t want to ruin it for anyone who intends on picking up the game! However, I will comment that the story is worthwhile to play through since the story unfolds in such a fascinating way.2018090817211800-5833A8D7B8549416BB4EBE5DC8B38D6C

Game play

Ys VIII is a real-time RPG so you fight monsters as they appear with various attacks. Combat is simple.  You can attack, down attack, skill attack, and Extra attack.  During combat you will also need to block and dodge.  The dynamic fighting style draws the player into combat since some monsters require you to use dodging and blocking in order to gain the advantage.  When you block/dodge at the right moments, you get block guard/flash guard, which slows the monster down for a few seconds in order for you to unleash a few more hits on them. This much better than bashing “A” (although, you can also do that, but take some damage in the process) to defeat enemies. Mastering when to block and dodge is particularly useful when you defend the campsite and fight bosses since you gain extra points when you do so. As you play through, the characters learn skills as you level up.  You can swap skills out as you play through the game making each character adaptable to your play style. However, each character can only hold up to 4 skills during play, so you’ll need to pay attention to weaknesses and range.2018072620394700-5833A8D7B8549416BB4EBE5DC8B38D6C

Each character has a unique set of skills and are stronger against certain monsters.  As you fight monsters you’ll notice where their weaknesses are and switch out accordingly.  When I play other RPGs, I tend to rely on one character to defeat monsters and bosses in, and this will make the game feel stale and boring, but as you adventure around the island, monsters in an area have a variety of weaknesses so you can’t just adventure solely with one character. Although Adol is the main character, you’ll get a lot of play with the other characters  -Adol doesn’t even have to be on your team!

The game environment feels open since there are many locations to discover and side missions to complete.  However, the game is very guided and certain areas will open based on how you have progressed through the story and the game overall. I found myself exploring every inch of the island and getting frustrated when there were areas I couldn’t easily access.  Although the map is limited, the game does a good job guiding you back to areas where you may have missed a couple items or needed to level up in order to play through.2018081219085400-5833A8D7B8549416BB4EBE5DC8B38D6C

One aspect that I really enjoyed about the game is the collection aspect.  Not only does it make sense to collect materials versus money (since money wouldn’t exist on a deserted island, anyway) but you can utilize most of the materials you collect.  In most RPGs I tend to sell off random collected materials for whichever monetary system the game established making the items seem incredibly pointless.  The collection aspect in Ys just made sense. There isn’t a limit to how much your character can “hold” so you can collect as much as you need to.

Between story plots, there are different types of raids you will need to participate in.  Depending on how well you do during a raid you will collect more items you can craft or trade for other things.  Before a raid, you’ll need to set up items to protect/distract beasts.  These items can be leveled up.  During a raid, the beasts will try to destroy these items and your goal is protect them and the camp.  You gain more points by using more special moves and using the dodge/block mechanic (as mentioned briefly above).

While adventuring, there are a variety of side activities you can do.  You can take on side quests to level up your relationships with members at the campsite, or, while adventuring, you can take a break and go fishing.  Fishing isn’t particularly important, but it helps with completing the journal (if you’re into that completion stuff), and in some instances locate hidden treasures.  Maxing out your approvals and completing missions for side will also affect the ending you get.2018082219024900-5833A8D7B8549416BB4EBE5DC8B38D6C

Graphics

I have not played this title on any other console besides the Nintendo Switch.  Graphics aren’t remarkable, but they’re enough to draw you into the atmosphere of the Ys world.  In some instances, the game will lag and you’ll notice a significant decrease in quality.  I’ve only seen this when Adol is interacting with another character at the campsite and only in handheld mode. Switching to TV mode, I do not notice any decrease in quality.  I’ve also encountered this when I play as past Dana.  The game will lag when she needs to switch between powers.  When this happened, I would restart the game and it would play as normal.

Another aspect I enjoyed about the game is that monsters, in design, are varied.  Some look similar, but it’s not always a re-skin or re-color of another monster from a different area.  So, that’s a plus.  Of course, there are the same “types” of monsters around the island, but the varying design makes the areas you play through more believable and immersive, it’s like Seiren is a real place.

Verdict

Pros

The game play allows for a variety styles of play.  You’re not always bashing the same button or using the same character throughout the game. You’re also not focusing on only one mission at a time.  You can choose between plowing through to get to the next story point, or have a bit of fun exploring the island.

I love the plots, arcs, and twists to the overall story.  The game slowly reveals the mysteries of the island and you don’t want to leave until everything has been resolved.

Cons

Sometimes there’s a drop in graphic quality in handheld mode, but it’s not enough to ruin the game.  Every now and then a re-start is required.

It might be the Switch itself, but there are places where I accidentally pull up certain menus or will unleash an extra skill.  Button sensitivity can be slightly annoying.

Overall, I’d rate Ys VIII and 8 out of 10.  I really enjoyed the story, the dynamic game play sets Ys apart from other titles.  I couldn’t rank much higher than 8 since there were quite a few instances where I found myself putting down the game after an hour or so of play.  There’s some missing element that I can’t quite put my finger on which prevented me from being completely hooked on the game.Score

Have you played any Ys titles? Have you picked up Ys VIII? What are your impressions of the game? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

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.

Score

 

 

 

Yomawari: The Long Night Collection coming to Switch

Be sure to leave some space on your Switch this fall for a double-dose of horror.  Yomawari: The Long Night Collection will be coming to the Nintendo Switch October 30th – just in time to make Halloween a little bit more spooky.  This will be a collection will feature both Yomawari: Night Along and Yomawari: Midnight Shadows.  Cute, scary, and filled with jump scares all around, this title is a perfect fit for the Switch.

Have you had a chance to play these titles? Check out what we thought of  Yomawari: Night Alone and Yomawari: Midnight Shadows!