Tag Archives: PlayStation Vita

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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Dragon’s Crown Pro_20170901175438

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

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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.

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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.

NCG Review – Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] (PS4, PS3, and PSVITA)

Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]

Platform: Playstation 4, Playstation 3, PSVita

Release date: February 9, 2018

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Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] is the an updated version of the previous title that came out back in 2015. Although the title has a very long name that really needs to be abbreviated (UNIST can be the short way of saying it), it has just that much content loaded into the game this time around! Developed by Arc System Works, who is known for their top of the line fighting game titles such as, the Guilty Gear Series, BlazBlue, and the newly released Dragonball FighterZ, this title is what you would expect.

Story

Being an updated version, the game introduces 4 new characters as well as a new story mode in which players can unfold the story of the world in a Visual Novel gameplay style. When I say Visual Novel, I mean Visual Novel! There is no gameplay in this mode, but that does not mean the story is horrible. Players of the anime community will really enjoy the twists and turns in the story.Under_Night_6

Visuals

The visuals are somewhat the same from the original, and that is not a problem at all of because the game has its own distinct look and manages to keep everything pretty simple. With a 2D drawn art style that still draws me in when turning this title on, I can say a lot of gamers will like how it looks. It reminds me of Anime mixed with a dark theme such as Darkstalkers.UNIST_25

During fights the visuals of each special attack work well and look great. The menu has more of an arcade look and is simple enough where new players can navigate with ease. Even the story mode looks awesome with the visual novel art style.

Audio

The soundtrack to UNIST brings back some of the previous titles tracks as well as a few new tracks, and the new tracks still holds up to the magnificent scores for combat and story telling.UNIST_EU_Announcement_2

Gameplay

I always felt Under Night never had any spotlight in North America, and is very under rated, but with the new update I hope that changes as this title is a must have for fighting game enthusiast. The core gameplay is the same as most anime fighters, without the air dash. So, it’s sort of like The King of Fighters meets Anime! Combos are limited to one button press for standing and crouching per button, and in the air so players need to strategize what they will do in each combo. It also has an  auto combo for players that bash buttons, but this limits button mashing to execute really short combos -the game wants you to learn passing and how to get in without button mashing, and this is perfect for new players wanting to join the fighting game community.UNIST_EU_Announcement_5

As I mentioned, this is a great game for new players because there is a new tutorial mode where everything is explained for fighting games in general. From executing and getting in, to how to finish combos and set up for another; this is a way to learn UNIST as wells as any other fighting essentials.UNIST_EU_Announcement_6

Of course, there is also online Ranked and Unranked play, which hold itself together pretty well but not to a perfect degree. The netcode isn’t perfect, as some matches lag even with two solid connections, but for the most part it is playable more than half of the time. And as for Ranked matches, the lobby’s will be full of veterans of the title, so I would recommend new players to not approach Ranked until you are ready to take on the best.

As mentioned, UNIST has 4 new cast members, Phonon with her whip, Mika a child with gigantic robotic hands, Wagner holding her sword and shield, and Enkidu who is pure martial arts. None of these characters feel like a rehash of previous characters or each other, and new players will be happy to see each have a different play style.

Verdict

With Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] coming out after one of the biggest fighting games this year a lot of players might miss this title. With an awesome Story mode for single player, fantastic visuals, and many more new additions, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] is a must have in my opinion. Although it lacks in online play at the moment, this is a great title for any one who is a fighting game fan our even a competitive fighting game player. I rate Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] an 8 out of 10.Score