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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!

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Tokyo Tattoo Girls – Meet your companions!

Today, NIS has released a trailer introducing 6 companions you are able to choose from in their upcoming title Tokyo Tattoo Girls.

We will see this title in the US for the PlayStation Vita and Steam on November 17th.

Check out the screenshots below to get a glimpse of the Tokyo Tattoo Girls!

Which girl do you have your eye on? Let us know in the comments!

DLC Sets and a Prinny Doll DLC for Birthdays the Beginning

NIS is bringing us some sweet DLC for their recent title, Birthdays the Beginning.  Did we also mention, a Prinny doll? The DLC will be available on the PSN and Steam.  Check out the details, d00d!

Prinny Doll (NA/EU Release Date: July 28) – Includes the ornamental “Prinny Doll” item, a tribute to the beloved Disgaea mascot.

Kunio and Riki Set (NA/EU Release Date: July 28) – The prolific high school punks burst onto the scene in Birthdays the Beginning. The Kunio and Riki Set contains the characters Kunio and Riki.

World Flag Set (NA Release Date: July 28/EU Release Date: July 31) – The World Flag Set contains the national flags of the following countries: America, Canada, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Germany, France, Russia, South Korea, China, and Japan.

World Monument Set (NA Release Date: July 28/EU Release Date: July 31) – The World Monument Set contains the following items: Pyramid, Stonehenge, Moai Statue, Totem Pole, Obelisk, and Chichen Itza.

Zen Garden Set (NA Release Date: July 28/ EU Release Date: July 31) – The Zen Garden contains the following items: Pond & Bridge, Stone Lantern, Large Bushes, Fence, Gate, and Sozu.

Cube Creator DX Set (NA/EU Release Date: July 28) – The Cube Creator DX Set contains the following items: Cube & Brothers, Cube & Animals, and Cube & Monsters.

Desert Rat Squad Set (NA Release Date: July 28/EU Release Date: July 31) – The Desert Rat Squad Set contains the Desert Rat and Devil Cat items.

NCG Reviews: Disgaea 5 Complete for Nintendo Switch

DOOD! Disgaea 5 is coming out on the Switch next week! May 23rd to be exact. Guess what? We have a review for you today! I have put 20 hours into it and I am only at the 4th Act and I have another 12 to go for the main story. I have dived into the item world and traveled far enough to see what’s new and I have also completed the side stories that unlock the protagonists from the previous games. Here are my thoughts….

 

The story:

Let me start out by saying, not all Disgaea game stories are super memorable. I can remember the 1st, 2nd, and 4th stories but not so much the 3rd (not sure why). Anyway, this isn’t a bad thing. The story is not really the point of these games.4

Regardless, in this game the main characters are Killia, the wanderer, and Seraphina, the Overlord of Gorgeous (the richest netherworld). Side characters include: Red Magnus, the Scorching flame Overlord; Christo, the Overlord of a certain giant netherworld (hehehe); and that’s all I know, for now. I think I am about to meet another side character that involves a yellow Prinny but I have yet to learn if they join the group. There’s also an annoying kid named Zeroken, I don’t know if he joins either, but he has made several appearances fighting the same enemy as me.

The story revolves around the main group fighting against the army, The Lost, of the most powerful overlord, Void Dark, who is trying to take over all netherworlds. Killia and company want to: 1) Kill Void Dark for revenge 2) Kill Void Dark because he ruined their life style 3) Kill Void Dark to prove they are the strongest…You get the gist right? They want to kill Void Dark for various reasons. Long story short, the group creates the Rebel Army and recruit more overlords to fight against Void Dark. If you you feel that there are lots of overlords in this game, you’re right! But there is a reason for that which I will explain in the next part…1.png

Game play:

Disgaea 5 brings more of the same from previous games with some new additions (of course) some for the better and some for the meh. The reason there are so many Overlords is because in D5 we get a new mechanic called Overload, a unique move that only Overlords can use and is specialized to the overlord. For example, Seraphina’s Overload is called Balor Gaze which when used causes male demons to become infatuated with Sera and fight each other for a while. Overload can only be used after filling a new gauge introduced in D5, the revenge gauge. The revenge gauge is filled every time a team member is hit and or defeated. Once filled, all attacks will critical hit and you can use certain attacks like Overload. The one drawback to this is that enemies can also go into revenge mode which makes them more difficult to face but also makes them drop certain items if defeated which makes it worth it to have enemies go into revenge mode.6

The training ground from D4/Clubs from D3 are back in the form of squads. Different squads do different things like share XP and Share Mana, these are still pretty useful to help level up characters you hardly use. The assembly is back, nothing much changed here as far as I can tell sbut one thing did change: you can no longer create characters using mana. There is now a recruiter for this and it uses money! This is good and bad in that some characters are more expensive than others to recruit. Making them strong is also more expensive but this makes sense. Before, it was a ton of mana needed. Now, it’s a ton of cash.

The item world of course is back with more of the same but with some additions. As you may or may not know, the item world is used to strengthen items by traveling through randomly generated dungeons and diving as deep as possible. Invaders still exist which, if memory serves, were first introduced in D2? Anyway, there are also now leveling fish which add an extra level to the item if you finish the map while you are lifting the fish. There are bottles that drop scrolls if you defeat them and then there’s these bunny creatures that give you random prizes for beating them, like extra XP. Finally, there’s this stork thingy that some times drops by and drops an egg that could have any of the things mentioned above OR a super strong baddie that enhances your item if you beat them. I ran away because I met a level 250 monster and I was only level 20, so yeah….10

Too long? Didn’t read? D5 has lots of familiar elements with just enough new and enhanced ones to keep it fresh, at least in my mind.

DLC:

D5 Complete doesn’t have any technically because it’s complete. Personally, I didn’t buy D5 for PS4 but I know what is DLC, so was it worth it at the time? Probably? I mean I’ll admit I am a super big Disgaea fan, I mean my nickname on here is DarkLaharl for goodness sake! I always love playing these games and I have dumped hours and hours into all them and I have bought pretty much every re-release that was on the PSP just to enjoy them again and on the go! So you can bet I love D5 for it being on the switch where I can take it anywhere or play on my TV…where was I….oh right, DLC. I probably would have bought it; I love all the previous protagonists so I would have gotten all those characters, Laharl, Etna, Flonne, Valvatorez, Rozlain, etc. The stories you play to unlock these guys are pretty fun too. The fact that it is complete in D5 makes it all the sweeter.

Overall, if you are a Disgaea fan, like myself, I know you will enjoy this game as well. Never played it before? You would definitely enjoy it if you like: Turn based games, super long games that can give you 100+ hours past the actual story, strategy games. The graphics are not super high quality but that doesn’t matter; the graphics have hardly changed from Hour of Darkness and that’s OK. Disgaea doesn’t need them. If you want crazy HD graphics in your turn based strategy then go play Final Fantasy.

7If I had to give D5 a score, it would get an 9/10 from me. What about you? did you play this already on the PS4? Are you waiting for it on the Switch? Let us know in the comments Dood!Score