Tag Archives: PlayStation Vita

NCG Review – Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight (PS4, PSVITA)

Not going to lie, I played the pants off of Persona 4: Dancing all Night.  I went as far as getting all the trophies and buying all the DLC.  Now, Persona 3 is definitely my favorite in the series, with Persona 5 coming in at 2nd so I was ecstatic when I heard they were also making a music game for those titles!  Did the games live up to my expectations?

Story

What I loved about Persona 4: Dancing all Night was the story.  It was as though it was a side story  that brought the team back together again after the adventure was over.  Not to mention the introduction of new characters, Kanami Mashita and the idol group Kanamin Kitchen was a nice touch. Sure, the dialogue and plot were kind of cheesy, but it gave you a goal and a new mission; dance your butt off to satisfy the shadows!  Something about the tone of the story combined with the remixed soundtrack made the game a fun experience: there was a theme, there was a resolution!P5D 1.png

Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight didn’t quite live up to that expectation.  The team has been taken to the Velvet Room for a competition but no cast members will remember what has happened in the Velvet Room when they wake up which makes this story null and void to the series.  It’s not a supplement, just an extra game.  There is also no variance in story for either title; the story for each game is essentially the same, just with a different set of characters. This simplifies the game, but at the same time the plot for the two titles doesn’t feel, in any way, compelling.  Sure, a dancing game doesn’t really need a plot, but I thought it was an aspect that made Persona 4: Dancing all Night stand out and I was hoping to see again with Persona 3 and Persona 5.  I really wanted to see what creators could come up with for each cast…P3D 1.png

The story is not essential to enjoying the game.  I just thought it would have been a nice touch to include a unique story that pertained to each cast, similar to P4: DAN.

Gameplay

If you played Persona 4: Dancing all Night, then picking up Persona 3 and Persona 5 will be a piece of cake.  Game play is simple in that you have icons that move outward from the middle and you need to push the corresponding button(s) on the left side, the right side, or both at the right time. You can get a “Perfect”, “Great”, “Good”, or “Miss” based on how accurate you hit the notes. Notes are the same as P4: single note, double note, hold, and scratch.  Persona 3 and 5 have added an additional double-tap note which is easy enough to pick up.

What I forgot about the Persona dancing games is the pacing is not as fast as other music games. Notes do not feel like they’re flying at you at inhuman speeds.  For me, this was difficult to keep up with since I am not used to actually watching the notes crawl into place; I use my gamer sense and mash accordingly.  To compensate, I added a modifier which speeds up the notes.  Slower notes movement is an aspect that might be fun to players who love the Persona series, but aren’t too big into music games and who do not play them regularly.P5D 3

Since there is not a central story to either games, you gain your unlockables and modifiers through social links.  In order to unlock social links you need to play the game.  There are a lot of fun ways to unlock social links, for example, wearing different accessories and costumes, or getting a certain number of combos.

Playing through the social links wasn’t my favorite part of the game, but it did bring me back to my favorite characters.  Persona 3 is my favorite game in the series, so seeing my favorite characters was a lot of fun.  I forgot how much I loved Elizabeth’s (or “Elle-P”‘s) quirky personality!  And although sitting through each social link could be boring at times (the dialogue is extremely cheesy!) I was rewarded with a variety of items and modifiers.unnamed.png

Like the previous entry, you can change the game by adding modifiers.  Some modifiers will help you in the game, or make it more challenging.  Helping modifiers subtract from your final score, and challenges will add to your score.

The criteria that determines whether or not your passed a song is very unclear.  P3 & P5 play similar to P4 in that you need to get the crowd excited, but it’s hard to determine if you are.  Maybe I am still salty, but I had nearly a full combo and missed (not hit it too late/too early) 2 notes toward the end of the song and did not clear it! I played the same song again, with weaker combos and hit rates, and passed the song…P5D 2.png

The overall game play is very fun for both titles.  The downside: both games are EXACTLY THE SAME.  This is down to the modifiers and social link criteria.

Audio

I’ll be pretty honest and come out and say that I am not a big fan of any Persona sound track.  Persona 4 was a lot of fun for me because of the remixes.  I jumped right into Persona 5 since it was the latest and freshest in my mind, but I just could not get into any of the tracks.  Jumping into Persona 3, though, was much funner since the audio tracks have a more up-beat music game sound to it.

Each game has around 25 songs, and follow the same pattern where you play four songs with individual characters, and then get either an animated song, or group song. This pattern follows until the end, where you get the concert rendition and then the “final” group dance song where all characters are dancing in the video.

When it comes down to picking which game has the better audio list, it comes down to preference.  For me, it was hands down P3 with the pop remixes of the original sound track.

Graphics

I played P4 on my Vita so the transition to PS4 was much welcomed.  The graphics have been enhanced and there’s an increase in the frame rate for all 3 entries.  You may need to adjust your TV settings and calibrate the buttons to ensure there is no lag.P3D 2

Verdict

Pros:  The game is addicting, easy to pick up, and revisits the cast from P3 and P5 titles. When playing you feel compelled to challenge yourself to see if you can get a King Crazy combo or beat your previous score.

Since the story is simplified, you don’t have to sit through a story plot that may or may not be interesting to you.

While you can unlock social links and get more items, it’s not really a requirement to go through them.  You can play through the songs as normal.  Social links are only relevant if you like modifying your characters and unlocking items.P3D 3

The sound tracks are unique to each game and you can play through some really awesome remixes of your favorite songs from each title.

Cons:  P3 and P5 are basically the same game.  Same plot, same way to unlock things, and to be honest, some of the dance moves even looked the same.  They’re basically the same game with 2 different skins and playlists.  Maybe this isn’t a con, but a gripe since I was hoping to view these as two separate entries.unnamed(1)

I rate Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight an 8 out of 10.

I don’t like how both titles are basically the same game.  If you want to save money, you’re better off picking your preferred cast and picking up that title.  But despite the sameness, the overall game play and game structure is still a lot of fun and worth the price tag (for a single game).  There is a lot more to the game than just dancing and you’ll enjoy going back down memory lane when you hear your favorite jam.Score

Have you picked up either of these titles yet? What did you think? Which is your favorite Persona game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

 

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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

NCG Review – Penny Punching Princess (Switch, and PSVITA)

NIS is well-known for their corky, over the top RPG titles, that have weird stories and addictive gameplay. Penny Punching Princess is no different. Players will be hooked on grabbing some money and bribing their enemies to just get something new.

Story

The story takes place in an era after “Might meant everything…” and now Money runs everything! That’s right, Penny Punching Princess revolves around money ruling all, and does a fantastic job in portraying it in the story, as well as gameplay. The dialog is enjoyable, as it never takes itself seriously and will keep your attention from beginning to end.20180313104029

Visuals

Penny Punching Princess takes inspiration from the retro sprite based dungeon crawler look of the Cladun series for the characters and enemies, and mixes it with digitally painted scenery that look along the line of Disgaea titles. The character design of each monster looked amazing, as well as the themes for each stage. The blend of the two styles mix well and gave the title its own identity, not to mention, made Penny Punching Princess feel right at home on the Switch. Honestly, the retro look brought this game to life for me, and I can see other players loving it as well.20180313104336

Gameplay

This is where the game felt unique, as it felt like a dungeon crawler mixed with a brawler, and with some RPG elements to give players a challenge. And when I say challenge, I mean challenge! As players will notice, they can not just run through each level just bashing buttons, players will need to use a bribing mechanic to help build armor, take overpowered enemies off the map, activate traps and even gain temporary abilities to heal or gain an attack.20180313105303

Players will find this mechanic very enjoyable, as its one of the only ways you can progress through how difficult the game jumps up to in early levels, but you can not just bribe at any moment. Players will have to collect money as well as let the gauge fill up to do so. Once players have a good amount of gold they will be able to bribe monsters, depending on their cost.20180313111009

As mentioned, once you bribe a monster you can use them to build armor, which will also give the Princess abilities for the dungeons, but it isn’t as simple as just bribing any monster for armor. Once a monster is bribed and recorded in your management list, you will be introduced to armor that can be created with them, as long as you have bribed the right amount. Which give players a goal to reach for strengthening up for some of the upcoming boss battles as players make their way through each chapter.

Verdict

Penny Punching Princess is a fantastic title for the Nintendo Switch and PSVITA. With its witty story, fantastic visuals and addictive gameplay players will have a reason to comeback to this title. I really enjoyed the bribing mechanic, and overall feel of the game as a whole, and recommend this title for all players who own a Switch. I give Penny Punching Princess a 7 out of 10.

Score

NCG Review: Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms (PSVITA)

The second chapter of Hakuoki is finally here!  A continuation of Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds, Edo Blossoms concludes Chizuru Yukimura’s journey. What will become of the Shinsengumi? Will Chizuru live happily ever after with your favorite samurai?

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Story:

If you haven’t played Kyoto Winds, you definitely want to since Edo Blossoms is a continuation of the first story.  This is particularly important since the continuing story will unfold based on the character you choose.  If you want to go my route, you’ll pick the character who you successfully romanced in Kyoto Winds to see what happens in Edo Blossoms.   However, the core plot of the story still unfolds around the Shinsengumi struggling to uphold their status with the tide of social and economic change in Japan. SPOILER: In addition to the historical drama, characters have consumed the Water of Life and are now super-powered with a craving for blood (aka: Furies).

Gameplay:

Unlike the previous title where you needed to really think about your answers to get a good ending, Edo Blossoms lets you pick your bachelor from the beginning. After selecting your man of choice the story continues with the relationship and ending from the Kyoto Winds.

The game still plays out like a visual novel.  When prompted you can pick from 2 to 3 answers to try to win over your Samurai.  If you make a good choice, you’re rewarded with a juicy screen shot or shown an icon to indicate your response was favorable.Hijikata (9)

It is much easier to get a good ending Edo Blossoms.  However, because of the SPOILER listed above you are prompted on multiple occasions with three options: Offer blood, offer medicine, or let him endure the pain.  This is where it gets tricky, because you can still make good choices, however, providing blood or not providing blood, can prevent a good ending.   The best way around this is to save constantly, and go back and re-load your data.  Or, you can see if you know how well you know your man.  Up to you. I had a lot of luck with Saito since I never found myself going back to previous saved data.  Okita, on the other hand, was a bit trickier.

Audio/Visual

What makes the Hakuoki series so fun is how you it draws the player in using minimal audio and visual.  The background music never feels overwhelming and changes to match the tone of the story (light hearted during humorous scenes, melancholic during reflective scenes) and the simplistic sound effects put you into the story (clashing swords, the rustling of a bush).  The subtle motion of characters, such as a change in facial expression or body posture, is enough to bring the story to life and prevent the visual novel from feeling stagnant.

Verdict

Pros: It was fun to be able to pick up this title and continue the story from the first game.  Endings that I thought were dismal (Okita’s, for example) actually came together.Sanan (4)

There are so many endings to the game and it makes you want to see what would happen if you fell in love with every character.  I hated living in a where *bleep* died, but in another arc, he was alive!

Because there are so many endings, the story is not the same story over again with a new face.  In one path, (SPOILER) Chizuru’s father is a good guy, and on another path, Chizuru’s father is pure evil!  In one story, Yamazaki dies on the way to Edo, in another, he is still a faithful character.  There is no single variation.

Cons: Since there are so many different endings and paths, I feel like some elements from Kyoto Winds are watered down or absent. For example, (more spoilers) you don’t see Sen or Kaoru ever again on certain story paths.

Even though I liked being able to choose my character, I liked the idea of mixing choices and coming up on an unexpected ending.  Following a character path almost made it too easy to have the happy sappy romance ending.

Verdict

I give Edo Blossoms an 8 out of 10.  The various continuations made the game a lot of fun.  The major downside is I feel like I can’t pick it up without playing Kyoto Winds first.  There’s lots of romance to be had, and so many scenes that will make your heart flutter! Definitely worth a couple play throughs.Score

Who was your favorite character in the series? Did you have a favorite story line? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

Character Trailer for Penny-Punching Princess

NIS America has released a new trailer for Penny-Punching Princess introducing the isometric brawler’s characters.

Characters introduced in the trailer include the Princess, her silver-tongued beetle butler Sebastian, the smelly-but-sweet zombie Isabella, Zenigami, and Dragoloan. In the world of Penny-Punching Princess, anything can be solved with money, and the Princess has been stripped of her throne by the Dragoloan boss.

Penny-Punching Princess is due out physically and digitally for Switch, and digitally for PS Vita, on April 3 in North America and Europe and March 30 in Europe.

Watch the trailer below.