Tag Archives: PlayStation 4

NCG Review: Pixel Junk Monsters 2 (PS4, PC, Switch)

I’m not a Pixel Junk junky, but I have to admit, Pixel Junk Monsters is one of the funnest, yet most infuriating games I always find myself jumping back in to.  I was thrilled to see a follow up was coming out.  Does Monsters 2 exceed it’s former counterpart?PJM2_SS10

Gameplay

Please note: the game calls them “chibis” but I will always, and forever, call them tiki babies.  This term will be used throughout the rest of this review. Just saying.

The point of the game is to protect your tiki babies at your base from the swarm of monsters trying to attack them.  In order to do this, you must build an arsenal of defense towers to kill the monsters before they are able to get to your base and eat the tiki babies.

The game relies entirely on strategy. There are different types of defense towers that need to be used against certain types of monsters (i.e. ground, air, air/ground).  During the swarms, you’ll need to plan your line of defense and build based on the type of monster that will be coming or which monsters you know will be coming. Building is limited since you need to collect coins and gems in order to build the defense towers. You can collect these by wandering through the trees or gather them after a monster has been killed.  During raids, you will also need to upgrade your towers.  You can do this by using a gem you’ve collected from a monster or stand on a tower to level it up – the stronger the tower, the stronger the defense! You have to work between building, upgrading, and preparing for what is coming.

Two-player co-op was an option of PSP players who each had their own PSP, but Monsters 2 allows for co-op on one screen for up to four players! This can get slightly chaotic since players need to be within a certain proximity to player 1, but it allows couch cooperation -you definitely need to communicate with your team to know what you plan what you need to build next, where to upgrade, where to invest your coins/gems.PJM2_SS14

With the addition of up to four player co-op, there are new features to use within a level.  If you have enough gems you can purchase a fruit (during a raid) that temporarily buffs up your character.  On top of that, there are interactive items in the level, such as boulders, that you can use as a backup line of  defense.  The game also throws in some challenges at you for certain. For example, you won’t be able to collect coins from monsters throughout a raid.

Aside from the game play additions, there’s a really fun cosmetic feature that allows you to change the mask and shield of your tiki man.  You can purchase masks by collecting coins after completing a level.

Graphics

The most notable graphic difference from Monsters is 3D graphics which creates more dynamic levels.  Rather than an overhead view, you get to explore the area. Otherwise, not much has changed in terms of character or monster design.PJM2_SS9

Audio

What makes this game so easy to get in to is the relaxing audio track. The tracks are similar to the original Monsters which brings back waves of nostalgia (if you played the original).  The track will change when the final monster approaches, but not to the extent where you feel stressed to build your towers -only to defend your precious tiki babies!

Verdict

Pros: The game is addicting, fun, and easy to pick up.  Despite getting furious when your tiki babies get eaten, you’ll still jump back in to the level with a different plan of attack.

Cons: I know I shouldn’t complain much, but the new levels feel less challenging compared to the predecessor.  After about one unsuccessful raid (meaning only 1 tiki baby was eaten), it was easy to grasp where you needed to build and what needed to be leveled up.PJM2_SS6

Although there is an option for multi-player, only player one gets to modify their character with a new mask and shield.  It’s almost unfair if you’re stuck being player 2.

Overall, I rate Monsters 2 and 8/10.

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If you like Monsters, and Pixel Junk games, this is definitely worth the buy.

Do you have a favorite Pixel Junk title? Let us know in the comments!

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NCG Reviews: BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle ( PS4, Switch, PC)

Arc System Works is known for making some top-notch fighting games such as Guilty Gear, BlazBlue,  Person 4 ArenaUnder Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] , and Dragon Ball FighterZ, the company is ready to introduce a new title. Although the game has BlazBlue in the title, it is not exactly a new addition to the BlazBlue Franchise. Rather, it places characters from BlazBlue,  Person 4 ArenaUnder Night In-Birth and RWBY in a tag team battle frenzy. blazblue-cross-tag-battle-screenshot-5

 

Visuals

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle brings back assets from all of the older titles,such as the sprite animation, backgrounds, and music. The game also brings in characters of RWBY into the same art style which, I have to say, looks fantastic. But not everything takes from the old titles.

The menu is now an overworld hub where players move their avatars around the “arena” of the game in third person view. This is somewhat similar to Dragon Ball FighterZ, but with its own distinct visuals.BLAZBLUE CROSS TAG BATTLE_20180605221208.png

Audio

All of Arc System Works games always have a great sound tracks, and BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle reuses tracks from each franchise except for the new tracks that were made specifically for the RWBY characters. The soundtrack is enjoyable, but I did want to hear new arrangement of older tracks for  this title, which I feel like this title lacks. Sure, there are a few menu tracks and video tracks that are new, but that is all you get.

Gameplay

If you came to this game expecting each character to play like the franchise they came from, you are in for a surprise. The core gameplay of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle revolves around using and switching characters as the main mechanic. This is a different approach for a fighting game and most players will not see what the developers were going for if they don’t jump into the Tactical mode, which does a fantastic job breaking everything down. Don’t let this give you doubt though.2610-4

Combos are still in the game but now have a different purpose. Instead of a long one character combo with an assist to reset combos like other tag titles, the combos are more of a universal set for all characters like Dragon Ball FighterZ, and are more of a set up for your next character to jump in while assisting. This will give the player the option to switch while their second character is attacking, or keep both characters for a short period of time, or even just use the other character to do a reversal counter to swap the other character out with very little punishment. And its gets more complex than just that.

Players will notice 3 different meters on the bottom of the screen. There is the: Skill gauge, which lets you do Extra Sills/EXs and Distortion Skills/specials; Cross gauge, which is consumed when using cooperative actions, such as Active Partner Skills, and Cross Combos; and Resonance Blaze meter, which is leveled up upon how much you use both characters. This can be activated when one character is left standing on your team, and recovers red health, increases chip damage, fills the Skill gauge, and allows you to cancel skills to a distortion skill during a combo. After you get to know all of this you might be ready for the story mode or even the online.E2

The story mode is broken down into chapters that are represented by each franchise with a visual novel form like usual. Players will find the story enjoyable….until you get to the other franchise stories. Players will fall out of the story not caring much to know what happens because when entering another franchises story for this game, it is soon realized that it’s just the same as the first story they finished. Online, on the other hand, feels great and on all the systems it feels perfect. I haven’t felt any lag as of yet on the Nintendo Switch version as well as the Playstation 4 version. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised playing the lack of lag when wi-fi on the Switch.  This might be because of the lack of 3D aspects built into the game or maybe it just has some really good net code.

Port Conversion

I had the opportunity to try the PS4 version and the Switch version when doing this review, and I can say the Switch port does everything perfect.  You’ll find that on the Switch there is no frame loss and as I mentioned, no lag.  Of course, you are likely to find more players on the PlayStation version of the game. Players will find a lot of enjoyment on what ever console they play on, now all we need is some sort of “CROSS PLAY”. Don’t forget to get your DLC packs which will be free for the first two weeks.  The DLC pack will give you 4 extra characters.

Verdict

BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle reuses a lot of assets from the older games it took characters from, maintaining the look and sound of an Arc System Works title. Even though the story lacks depth, the gameplay is addicting and brings a different approach to the fighting game genre. The amount of depth will have players finding out more unique ways to play for the titles life span.PREVIEW_SCREENSHOT4_164885

I can say I didn’t enjoy the game much when I went in blind; I thought it was a normal fighting game. But after taking the time to do the Tactical mode it brought the game to life and made me appreciate the title as a whole. I highly recommend going though the tutorial before jumping into competitive matches. That being said, I give BlazeBlue Cross Tag Battle a 7/10.

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Fighting EX Layers will launch worldwide on June 28

Akira has announced that Fighting EX Layer will launch worldwide (in 68 countries) for PlayStation 4 via the PlayStation Store on June 28.

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The game will feature both English and Japanese text, and Japanese voice-overs. It will be available in the following editions:

  • Light Version ($39.99) – Includes 12 launch characters + five Gougi Decks
  • Standard Version ($59.99) – Includes 12 launch characters + Hokuto + 15 Gougi Decks

Super Neptunia RPG coming this fall!

Getting tired of all these 3D Neptunia games? Then the get ready for some 2D action with Nep-Nep! Super Neptunia RPG will be coming to North America and Europe Fall 2018!  And yes, Nep-Nep is making the Switch; this title will be available for both the Switch and PlayStation 4.

Each character is hand drawn by Tsunako and animated for the upcoming 2D side-scroller.

Story:

In a world where 2D games reign supreme, an organization called Bombyx Mori forces its citizens to churn out 2D games as offerings to their leader. Those who dare to use new technologies or whose games don’t meet their standards risk banishment to the soul-crushing Trial Grounds.

A girl awakens in this world with no recollection of anything beyond her name, Neptune, and soon realizes she possesses great strength. With her newfound sense of heroism and a strange book known as Histoire in hand, she sets off on a journey to see if there might be more than this two-dimensional life.

Key Features:

Old School Dungeons!– Explore gorgeously painted, interactive dungeons in a style inspired by classic gaming titles.

Follow the Leader! – Enter turn-based battles where the party’s attack style changes based on the battle leader. Switch leaders on the fly, transform mid-battle, and use elemental attacks to maximize your team’s strategy!

Save Gamindustri! – In a time where retro gaming and 3D graphics are at polar ends, this story delves headfirst into the debate for a self-aware ribbing of gaming culture.

2D Comes to Life! The hand-drawn art of Neptunia series artist Tsunako is brought to life by Artisan Studios, showing the characters in a whole new way!

 

NCG Review: Dragon’s Crown Pro (Playstation 4)

Normally I don’t get too excited over the re-release of a game.  However, Dragon’s Crown Pro was a title I didn’t mind revisiting.

Jumping back into the game I had forgotten not only how beautiful the world of Dragon’s Crown is and how addicting the chaotic game play can be.

Visuals

Enhanced for the PlayStation 4 Pro, the graphics look stunning! Visuals have been retouched to give the art work and style of the game more clarity.  The game design and art work in itself is already outstanding, but the enhanced graphics lure you back into the Dragon’s Crown world.  You’ll find yourself wondering why you left it in the first place.Converted_5

Audio

The original soundtrack to Dragon’s Crown set a unique tone and atmosphere for the game.  Dragon’s Crown Pro has taken an already wonderful soundtrack and re-recorded it.  Composed by Hitoshi Skaimoto and supported by a live orchestra, the new soundtrack enhances the gaming experience.  I usually don’t pay much attention to the soundtrack and use whichever tunes are playing on default, but switching it up in the latest version added a more refined element to the game. I think it’s an aspect music junkies can appreciate. Of course, you also have the option to use the original sound track if you don’t care about all the fancy new stuff.

Game Play

What I absolutely love about this re-release is that I don’t have to start the game all over again! You can cross-save your saved data from the PS3 to the latest version so you can start adventuring where you left off.  You basically adventure in the same areas multiple times anyway, but it’s nice to keep your items and characters.  I’ll admit, I would have been heart-broken if I didn’t get to keep my Sorceress, EstllaR.P9_ソーサレスjpg

For those who might be new to this title, you select your character (Fighter, Amazon, Wizard, Elf, Dwarf, or Sorceress), assemble your team, and fight your way through dungeons. Each dungeon has two paths you can take, one usually more difficult and challenging than the other.   Your ultimate goal is to gather the crystals from each dungeon and defeat a dragon.

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There are many aspects I enjoy about this game. For example, the game is very balanced.  There’s a limit to how many times you can use an item or even your main weapon. I chose the Sorceress first, and I had to balance attacks, magic, and recharging my MP to attack. On top of that, items can weaken or break after too many uses. Adventuring through a dungeon also doesn’t guarantee you will obtain the crystal.  There are different criteria you must meet when battling a final boss in order to get the crystal.

The only major downside to the game is how repetitive it can become; you ‘ll have to adventure through the same dungeons multiple times if you fail to meet your goal the first round.  However, there are a lot hidden pathways and treasures within a level.  On your second or fifth round, you might find something you missed the first four times.

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Verdict

Pros:

Upgraded crisp graphics that reveal the details of each hand drawn character and a new soundtrack bring you back into the world of Dragon’s Crown. On top of that, you get to keep your saved data from other consoles and cross-play/cross-save to your heart’s content.

Cons:

Aside from the updated graphics and sound, there really isn’t much new to the game.  I’d have liked to see new characters and new levels.  There’s nothing that really feels “New” to the game. To compensate, DLC content will be released but I think it would have been nice to see it included with the re-release of the game.

If you haven’t had a chance to play Dragon’s Crown, definitely pick up Dragon’s Crown Pro for the PS4.  The hand drawn art style is stunning and the game play is fun and addictive.  I always find myself poking around the screen to find hidden treasures and seeing what I can unlock from the runes.

If you’re a returning player, the buy may or may not be worth it. You don’t lose any of your data, however there are no real new elements to the title.

Do you like Dragon’s Crown? What is your favorite Vanillaware title? Let us know in the comments!Score