Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software (PSV/PS4) Spike-Chunsoft (PC)
ESRB Rating: M
Release Date: September 26nd, 2017
Thank you NISA for supplying a copy for the review
It’s time. A new Danganronpa has arrived. This isn’t like Ultra Despair Girls where it became a 3D puzzle shooter/action game hybrid. But instead, we’re going back to the traditional scenario of 16 high school kids with ultimate abilities trapped in an unfamiliar environment killing each other while you have to figure out who killed who. Don’t worry though, if you’re new to the series, this is a meant to be a new starting point so knowledge of the previous entries aren’t needed. Also, please know that is not to be confused with Danganronpa 3 which is the ending to the previous Danganronpa games.
A bit of a surprise ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Game Show, Gal*Gun 2 will be headed to the PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch.
Now, with the fourth “Gal*Gun” title, Inti Creates decided it’s finally time to make the leap to “Gal*Gun 2″! With the same silly and irreverent style, but new characters and mechanics, “Gal*Gun 2″ represents a big step forward for the series. Big enough for a number, even!
“Gal*Gun 2″ will be available this winter on the Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch platforms! More details about the game will be revealed as time goes on, so stay tuned!
With the massive success of the last Gal*Gun on PlayStation 4 and PC, it is not surprising that this game is getting a sequel. However it is surprising to see it hit Nintendo Switch. It’ll be interesting to see if this game will make use of the Nintendo Switches, unique features. You can check out all of the information so far about this game by checking out the developers website here. Currently there is no word on a US Release, but the fact that this was posted on the developers english website can give some hope for fans of the series that it will make it’s way stateside.
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios/The Pokemon Company
Publisher: The Pokemon Company
ESRB Rating: E10
Release Date: September 22nd, 2017
Thank you to Nintendo for providing the game for reviewing purposes.
Pokken Tournament is a Pokemon fighting game developed by the talent behind the Tekken series, originally made for Wii U and Arcades. Instead of just making a Tekken game with a roster entirely made up of Pokemon, the developers decided to go a different route by combining 2D and 3D gameplay. Pokken Tournament DX sports new content, and a few quality of life changes to make the experience much better, but how much better is it overall?
Pokken Tournament featured a story mode that had the player go through many different leagues where they would face off against opponents to become the champion of Ferrum. However, a black Mewtwo is absorbing Synergy, a type of energy that the trainers use to power up their pokemon in the heat of battle. The player and the talkative announcer, Nia, must find a way to stop Shadow Mewtwo, so that the Ferrum League can continue to use synergy for its competitions.
The story mode returns for Pokken Tournament DX with some improvements; unfortunately enough, it manages to be very repetitive with very little character interaction. Nia is one of two characters that have a major presence in the story, and she can be quite annoying. Her English voice is dreadful, but even if you change the voice acting to Japanese, it doesn’t change the fact she doesn’t really offer much as a character, and is completely forgettable. On Wii U due to the small roster, the amount of Ferrum league battles the player has to go through only showed how much of a small roster the game has. There was very little variety, and due to that the story mode felt like a broken record. However, on Switch, this is less of a problem thanks to the five new Pokemon added to the roster bringing the total cast to 21 Pokemon to choose from. The story doesn’t change much, but at least there’s a bit more to it. The most important change is that you no longer need to beat story mode to unlock Shadow Mewtwo. So if you’re just looking to fight your friends and nothing more, story mode can be completely ignored.
Pokken Tournament’s main feature is that doing a combo that results in major damage shifts the battles back and forth from 3D to 2D. The 3D sections play like an arena fighter where you start off from opposite ends of the field, with the goal shift to the 2D mode where it plays like a traditional fighter. An issue with the 2D gameplay is that the size of the field stays the same with the transition, so if a long range character is able to shift the field from far away, it has a major advantage and may be extremely difficult to get close. Thankfully not all hope is lost as you can pick a support pokemon set to cover some weaknesses your Pokemon may have, or even enhance their strengths. Pokken Tournament’s gameplay revolves around its rock, paper, scissor mechanics. Grabbing beats counter attacks, counter attacks beat attacks, and attacks beat grabs. This causes matches to revolve around mix ups, and mind games, which does reward players for being more defensive than offensive. Though combos are devastating, and flashy, so if you read your opponent correctly you are rewarded with high damage and synergy.
Synergy goes toward your synergy burst gauge, which powers up your Pokemon when full and allows them to use a super move. Even cooler is when your Pokemon has the ability to Mega Evolve. It doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things since every Pokemon gets powered up, it just looks cool and adds to the thrill of the match. While the matches can be engaging, Pokken Tournament DX is not a game with a high level skill ceiling. Understanding the mechanics and learning combos requires little effort from the player, and this simplicity is a double edged sword. All combos only require the use of two, sometimes three buttons while holding a specific direction. This simplicity can make the gameplay itself feel repetitive, which is problematic for a fighting game. Anyone can be good at Pokken, which means the truly skilled players will be ones who can read their opponents, and mix up their combos. Pokken is still a fun game to play, but its simplicity may be a turnoff for players looking for more. Those who were turned off by the lack of variety in the roster will be pleased to see that the five new Pokemon all play differently, and are very fun. Decidueye has become a new favorite personally, and may even replace Gardevoir as my primary character. Increasing variety leads to a healthier metagame, and allows for more people to find something best suited for their play style.
Local play has been greatly improved, as the game now runs at sixty frames per second on one console, unlike Wii U where you were required to use the gamepad as a second screen for one of the players, which halved the framerate. This change allows for tighter battles without the need for LAN play. Though, you can still use LAN and the new wireless mode if you so choose. A brand new feature that made me more engaged in my multiplayer matches was the new team battles. You and your opponent can choose up to three pokemon to use one at a time in battle, so if you’re losing because your opponent has the advantage, maybe your other two pokemon will excel at the matchup more, and backup your main. This makes it feel more like a Pokemon game as well since I’m building a team to cover my weaknesses. The only thing I would like to see is more options added, such as a way to change the time and how many support pokemon sets I can use. The possibilities of a team battle where you can choose from three support sets would make creating strategies fun by itself. This is the mode that I have had the most fun playing and I keep coming back for more.
Pokken Tournament DX moves away from the anime style of the Pokemon series for a more realistic look for the Pokemon. None of the Pokemon designs are changed, but they have more realistic textures. For example; Suicune has realistic fur, and its crest actually looks like it’s made of crystal, something Suicune is associated with. Honestly I’d love for this art direction to be used in a future installment of the core RPG series, it just looks really good. Even the Arenas look great, with lots of Easter Eggs that hardcore Pokemon fans will enjoy. The improved resolution also makes the Pokemon models look sharp up close. However, the texture detail of your opponent looks very blurry, which got distracting sometimes when I was playing casually. The visual and sound effects are flashy and robust, giving that extra oomph to that devastating combo. Not to mention how amazing some of these special moves look, with Scizor’s looking especially awesome. The only area where the sound design falls flat is actually the soundtrack as whole. There really isn’t any tune that sticks out, and while that may not be a huge issue for a fighting game, it detracts from the atmosphere of the many arenas the game.
Overall, Pokken Tournament is a fun fighting game that is perfect for casual play. While there is depth, and it can be a very competitive game, some players may find it too simple, and repetitive. The art direction is great, and the visual effects are a sight to behold. The new features are impressive and improve on some of Pokken’s biggest problems on Wii U. If some of these issues were what stopped you from playing it before, then this is the best way to play Pokken. Though if you owned Pokken on Wii U, paying sixty dollars again may be asking too much.
At the most recent Nintendo Direct, it was announced that Atlus USA would be bringing the most recent FURYU 3DS JRPG The Alliance Alive to the west. A spiritual successor of sorts to The Legend of Legacy.
It’s time to resist! Humanity must band together and unite against Daemon oppressors because ATLUS is bringing FURYU Corporation’s JRPG The Alliance Alive to the Americas and Europe for Nintendo 3DS!The game was originally released in Japan earlier this year and features nostalgic gameplay developed with a modern touch. Featuring massive world-exploration, an intertwining story of nine protagonists, an exhilarating turn-based battle system, and more, JRPG fans will instantly feel at home when crusading against evil in The Alliance Alive.One thousand years ago, Daemons invaded the world and subjugated all that stood in their path. They then separated the realms with the Great Barrier, which thrust the world into a sea of chaos. The barrier caused the Dark Current, an ocean current that submerged most major cities, to wreak havoc and decimate humanity. All hope was lost, and all remaining humans had to bend the knee to their new Daemon kings. Hundreds of years later, the world is about to change again… There are whispers of resistance, and now the time is ripe to bring it to a roar. Can you fan the flames of rebellion and lead mankind to victory?
Developer: Mercury Steam/Nintendo
ESRB Rating: E10
Release Date: September 15th, 2017
Thank you to Nintendo for providing the game for reviewing purposes.
Metroid: Samus Returns is the return of a classic Metroid adventure made from the ground up on 3DS hardware. Thanks to a plethora of new additions in content and gameplay, this is the true way to enjoy Samus Aran’s mission to eradicate the Metroid species, and bring peace to the galaxy.
Developer: Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: PS Vita
ESRB Rating: M
Release Date: September 19th, 2017
Thank you Idea Factory International for allowing us to review the Vita version of this game.
It’s been about a year since I’ve played a DRPG. It’s been a year since I’ve played MeiQ, the game that made me take this much time away from the genre. Yet here we are, with IF taking on the genre once more (albeit this one not being a Makai Ichiban Kan title) by the name of Mary Skelter: Nightmares. Thankfully, unlike the last one, going through Mary Skelter isn’t a living nightmare.
Developer: Aquaplus and Sting
Platform: PlayStation 4, PS Vita
ESRB Rating: M
Release Date: September 5th, 2017
MRSP: $49.99 (PS4), $39.99 (PSV)
Thank you Atlus for allowing us to review the Vita version of this game.
Utawarerumono is a pretty interesting franchise. It was once just a simple game back in 2002. Then it received a manga and anime adaptation a few years afterward. Out of nowhere in 2015, Aquaplus decides to go back to the franchise and gives us Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception. It didn’t end there though as the second half of this come back released in 2016 – while the rest of the world had to wait for both pieces in 2017. And now, the time has come as the end has arrived with the release of Mask of Truth.
Developer: ACE Team
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (Steam)*
ESRB Rating: E
Release Date: August 28th, 2017
*The PC Version was used to review this game
Thank you, Atlus for providing a review copy!
Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder is the sequel to the cult 2011 indie game “Rock of Ages“. Rock of Ages is a series which takes elements from tower defense games as well as a few queues from the “Katamari” and “Super Monkey Ball” franchises to create something truly unique. Nearly 6 years after the release of the first game, does Rock of Ages 2 truly live up to the title of Bigger and Boulder? Today we take a look.
Let’s cut to the chase, Sonic Mania is the true Sega Saturn sequel to Sonic 3 and Knuckles we never received. Made by big names in the Sonic fan community this game is a testament to why we love the hedgehog in the first place. Christian Whitehead definitely knows what he’s doing, and thanks to Head Canon, Tee Lopes, and PadogaWest Games, we have something that will be remembered just as fondly as the classics.
Publisher: NISA America
Platform: PlayStation 4, PS Vita, PC
Release Date: September 12th
ESRB Rating: T
It’s been 4 years since the last Ys game, Memories on Celceta. A fun time, with albeit some story problems here and there. YS VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, doesn’t feel more of the same, but it does bring about some of the same issues I’ve had with Celceta.
Here in Lacrimosa of Dana, we play as Adol Christin yet again embarking on another adventure. If you’re a new comer to the franchise, don’t panic – each game is a separate tale for our adventurer here. This time he’s temporarily a sailor meant to guard some passengers as they make their way to the mainland. However, problems quickly strike when the boat gets too close to a mysterious island. The boat gets attacked by a giant monster leaving you and the passengers shipwrecked on the island. Initially, you start off alone, but quickly find others. Together you set up Castaway Village in this deserted island and explore it with the main goal in mind to find as many surviving passengers as possible and find a way to escape.