Tag Archives: Review

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 – 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 – The Escapists Complete Edition (Switch)

Originally released back in 2014 on PC, and later making its way to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4 The Escapists The Complete Edition can now be played on the Nintendo Switch. The complete Edition brings all DLC packs, which are Alcatraz, Escape Team, Duct Tapes are Forever, Santa’s Sweatshop and Fhurst Peak Correctional Facility, which was previously exclusive to the PC release, all into one package.maxresdefault

Visuals

The Escapists The Complete Edition still keeps the same cute 8-bit look, but all in the palm of your hand this time around. And this looks great transitioning of from the big screen to handheld mode. Whether it’s the different scenery from the different scenarios, or even the different characteristics of each prisoner and police officer, the game looks great.whats-in-the-escapists-complete-edition-3

 

Gameplay

The gameplay is simple and is what you know and love from all of the other ports. You are a prisoner and you need to do quests to gain items and money to get out of the prison, but you can make enemies on your way of doing so. For example, if you talk to one of the other prisoners and they ask you to distract the guards during a break session, you can hit another prisoner, however, this can have them turn on you later in the game so you’ll need to choose wisely. Players will need to be strategic in order to complete their quest to escape.large

Honestly I really recommend this title to everyone to try out. It is easy to pick up, and even easier to pick up on the with the Nintendo Switch. If you have not played The Escapists, this version is the perfect port to start at since it comes with all of the previous DLC and the core game. I give the Escapists a 7/10 for the accessibility, replay value, and uniqueness as a whole.Score

 

NCG – Review – Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] (Steam)

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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