Tag Archives: Switch

NCG Review – Steins;Gate Elite (PS4, Switch, PC)

Steins;Gate Elite is a remastered version of the original titled. Based on the original game, 80,000 lines of text and over 7,000 anime scenes were analyzed in order to piece together this Elite version of the game.

I attempted picking up the original Steins;Gate visual novel, but struggled to make it through to the end.  Can players find themselves making it to the end of the Elite version?

Story

If you are unfamiliar with the story, Okabe Rintaro AKA Hououin Kyouma is a mad scientist set to oppose “The Organization”.  Most of this is part of his own self-created delusions, but his lab mems (lab members) Mayushii and Daru go along with his flow.  After discovering the body of Makise Kurisu at a conference about time-travel, something strange happens to Okabe when he makes it back to the streets of Akihabara.  After sending a text message to fellow lab mem, Daru, about Makise Kurisu’s death, Okabe finds himself alone on the streets of Akihabara. As the people come back, Okabe notices that his memories of the events at the Radio Kaikan building, where the conference took place, do not seem to match those around him.  Instead, the Radio Kaikan building has been closed down because a satellite has crashed into it and Mayushii, who attended the even with him, has no recollection of being inside of the building.

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It isn’t until Okabe finds Makise Kurisu, alive and well, that he starts questioning what has happened.  Events start to unfold after the re-appearance of a mysterious self-proclaimed time traveler (who no one remembers from 10 years prior), strange phenomena occurring with the use of the latest gadget “Phone Wave (name subject to change), and a living breathing Makise Kurisu.  What has happened to Okabe Rintaro? This story has a very clever use of time travel theories and the butterfly effect.  If you haven’t watched the series, you’ll find yourself wondering how the events unfold, diverge and reconnect together.

Graphics

Deviating for normal graphic novel story telling, Steins;Gate Elite incorporates anime into the overall game play.  Rather than looking at a static figure and dialogue, you experience the scene as though watching an anime.  This approach to visual novels makes the story so much more engaging! I struggled to stay awake while playing the previous game. The Elite version just feels more satisfying to play.

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My only gripe about this transition from static to moving is that the overall style of the original visual novel is removed.  The hand-drawn representation and unique look is removed in the Elite version and comes off very bland. I would have liked to see the original style in-tact.  This, of course, makes sense since scenes were taken from the anime itself.

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Gameplay

Graphic novels follow the same formula.  You are presented with dialogue, and when the protagonist needs to make a choice, you choose between 2 or 3 responses.  In turn, these responses determine which kind of ending you’ll get.

Steins:Gate is unique in that, rather than a pop up of multiple responses, the outcome of your story is determined by how you respond to other characters via text message.  This is a creative device since so much of the story is based around the usage of cellphones and text messaging.  Choosing a response, or lack thereof, can set you down your ending path.

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Steins:Gate Elite uses a very similar mechanic to the original.  However, the responses you will need to make will not align with the original game since new communications between characters have been added; this makes the game feel a bit newer and less like the original but still maintains the original story and pattern.  Elite adds new animations and scenes for each character route.  This will have you going back to see the variety of ways the story could end.  I am aiming for a Mayuri route! Needing to check the cellphone is a bit more guided.  When I first jumped into the original Steins;Gate I didn’t even look at messages because I didn’t realize you were supposed to! This takes away from the exploration aspect, but it also emphasizes the relevance of the communications, which wasn’t very clear in the original title.

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Verdict

Pros: Steins;Gate is definitely one of my favorite series.  I like all of the characters, and although the series is very harem, it’s not overly fan-servicey and sticks to the main plot.  The exploration of time travel through these characters is unforgettable.

Using animation for the story telling aspect is basically what I have wanted for every visual novel I have played. This is a win, hands down.

The addition of new animations to unlock and different story routes are what brings you back to the game; you want to get all endings.  The new animations are going to keep me hooked since I want to see scenes that were not in the anime.

Cons: While I really like the animated story telling, the overall style of the series is lost.  I felt the characters were really beautiful in the original title, but their overall design was lost in the transition.  I guess some sacrifices needed to be made.

I would rate Steins:Gate Elite a 9 out of 10.  Sure, you know what you’re expecting, but the Elite version is a new approach to visual novels that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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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 – SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy (PS4, Switch)

Many players know SNK’s long running “The King of Fighter” series, but have you ever wondered why they never released “The Queen of Fighters?” Well now they (sort of?) have with “SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy.” But is it really meant for the fighting game scene, or did they take on a different route with this title?1(1)

Visuals/ Audio

SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy has an awesome soundtrack that fits the theme of the whole game from the J-pop title screen to the quirky music while battling. I did enjoy listening to it all. Another part of the audio that I really enjoyed were the small sound effects when each charter attacks as well as the particle effects having random objects and confetti flying everywhere. Players will also notice that the character models look somewhat like KOF XIV, but upgraded just enough.6(1).png

Gameplay

SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is not your typical hardcore 2D fighter, but more of a casual party game with some unique elements. Fighting game veterans will notice instantly that the button layout is a bit strange as it consist of a light attack,  a heavy attack, special attack, throw, guard, tag and Dream Finish button. Light attack and heavy attack are your main buttons for combos, which are all auto combos, and the special attack button lets players execute specials with the press of one direction and a button, making the game more accessible to the casual gamers within the game modes.1(2).png

The title consists of 5 game modes, which are Story mode, Versus, Survival, Tutorial, and Online. In Story Mode players will discover the girls of the SNK universe have been captured and have woken up in weird fan service clothing. The actual story never really unfolds and ends of falling flat, but Story Mode in any fighting game title usually falls flat. Survival also doesn’t feel challenging since it never jumps up in difficulty. In short, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy has very little to offer for single player. The multi player, on the other hand, is where the game stands strong since the game doesn’t feel like a fighting game but a party game. 3.png

Verdict

If you are looking for an in-depth fighting game, or even a single player title, you will not find it here, but that doesn’t mean SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy is a terrible game. It does feel great for a party title and players who are not familiar with fighting game mechanics can pick up the game fast. At the end of the day, SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzyis more of a fan service, casual game, and I would not recommend this title for the $49.99 price tag, but I would recommend trying it out. I give SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy a 5/10.

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NCG Reviews: Overcooked 2 (PS4, Switch, PC)

Team 17 is bringing Overcooked back with more kitchen madness! Jump into your food truck and find a way to defeat the un-bread!

Story

After reading the necro -nomnom- icon and accidentally raising the un-bread, you must hop in your food truck, hone your cooking skills, and defeat the un-dead bread monsters!  The story isn’t pertinent to the game, but the jokes and humor help set the overall tone for your kitchen journey.6-2

Gameplay

If you’ve played Overcooked, then you already have a feel for how Overcooked 2 will work. What I really enjoyed about Overcooked 2 is that it’s not a re-skin of its predecessor.  There are more features to the game, and more ways to utilize what you already know.2-3

Features

The throw feature is a new addition to the game.  You’ll have to figure out how to launch foods across the kitchen and chasms (and other obstacles) to ensure your team mates can cook/cut ingredients.  Throwing adds another layer of strategy to game as players learn how to send food to areas and players that can’t be reached.  Thrown food can  be caught directly,  land on a surface, or, of course, land in your hand knocking something important out of it.  The throw feature is limited to food, so you can’t throw dishes around the kitchen.  The plates would break, you know?

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Unfortunately, you can’t make your chef swear across the kitchen when you’re frustrated (*!@#$@*#$*@#$%@*!), but you CAN communicate what your chef is thinking, feeling, or doing.  This is especially helpful for online modes where you can’t yell at your friend sitting next to you.

Stages

Not only are there new game mechanics, but there are new types of levels with a variety of menus.  Dynamic levels force players to change their strategy and work around the level.  This means switching tasks between chefs and figuring out how the kitchen moves.  The complexity of the menu also poses a new challenge.  Overcooked did not require a variety of dishes to be made, but rather the dishes to be made in a complex environment.  In Overcooked 2, you really have to pay attention to not only your environment, but to what needs to be plated and which ingredients are required.  You’ll have quite a few errors if you’re not paying close attention.1-6

Dynamic levels create a new chaos, but in addition to a variety of stages, you get special levels if you meet specific requirements in a stage.  It’s like a special unlock feature! You’ll likely be looking at walkthroughs in a week or so to unlock the secret levels.  Or, you can see what you come up with on your own.  Whatever floats your boat.

Online

Overcooked 2 doesn’t require your friends to all be in the same room.  Instead, you can play online! This is a fun feature in case your friends are way across town and don’t want to come over (boo to those types of friends!).  This mode, however, can be particularly difficult if no one is using a headset.  Overcooked is a game that requires a certain level of communication that does not happen within the game.  Yes, you can tell your teammates what task you will take on while playing, but when the timer is ticking, chaos ensues!

If playing with friends is not an option, you can also jump online and play against strangers.

Graphics/Audio

This time around, the graphics and audio weren’t really beefed up.  Instead, the focus was the mechanics and game play.  Graphics do look a little bit nicer, and there are a couple new tunes to the sound track.2-6

Verdict

Pros:

Team 17 did a wonderful job incorporating new mechanics and levels to the game.  It’s enough to make the game feel “new” but it’s not a complete overhaul of the original title.  There’s enough balance that new players can jump in and learn the game, while veteran players can still feel challenged.

New modes, such as online and arcade mode, give the game a different dynamic.  You’re not limited to only couch co-op; you can now play with chefs across the world!

Cons:

While the new online feature adds another game dynamic, it’s difficult to communicate with other players.  You do have the emote option to share what your chef will be doing, but when the clock is ticking down it’s difficult to stop and alert your teammates. Although, that is part of the challenge.

Even though there are a variety of new dynamic stages and complex menus, the game can start to feel too easy.  What I enjoyed about the first title was that the challenges weren’t exactly explained to you. You break the challenge down as you play and adapt to what needs to happen in the kitchen.

I would rate this game an 8 out of 10.

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The game isn’t perfect but it’s a fun addition to the series.  Have you played Overcooked? How do you and your friends/family get when you play the game? Let us know in the comments!