Yakuza Kiwami Seemingly Hitting PC February 19th

It seems like Majima is giving us a bit of a surprise as to when we can expect Yakuza Kiwami on Steam. On the updated Steam page, this gif was posted

Didn’t see it? Well heres a little hint on one of the frames.

At the very least we are getting some news on Yakuza Kiwami for PC soon, but it is a safe bet that it will be releasing on February 19th. As more news comes out about this version of the game we will be sure to report on it here!  In the meantime check out our review of the PS4 release of Yakuza Kiwami here.

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Senran Kagura Burst Renewal- A Renewed Sense of Enjoyment

Developer: Marvelous

Publisher: XSEED Games

Platform: PC*, PS4

Release Date: Jan 22nd, 2019

ESRB Rating: M

Thank You XSEED for Providing a Review Copy of this Game!

Senran Kagura has had many faces for quite some time. Starting off as a 2.5D brawler, to a 3D musou, to a rhythm game, Third Person Shooter, questionable visual novel, and finally a pinball game. Senran Kagura: Burst Re:Newal doesn’t go all the way back to its roots gameplay wise by making it 2D, but close enough by going back to the 3D musou-esque brawler style of play. As the name implies Senran Kagura: Burst Re:Newal (which from here on will be shortened to Re:Newal)  is a remake of the original Senran Kagura along with its expansion/sequel, Senran Kagura: Burst.

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As explained earlier, Re:Newal is a remake of Burst, so the story is more or less exactly that with no real changes. If you haven’t played Burst, there are a couple things to note. For one, the story is split into two perspectives. One from Hanzo – the good ninjas – with the other being Hebijo – the bad ninjas. The story doesn’t really do much outside of the two schools interacting with each other a few times only for it to be settled in one final confrontation. Which isn’t bad per se, it’s just tropey fun in the end. Much like the developers though, I myself kinda forgot how serious the original story was at times compared to the completely campey nature of later entries.

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When it comes to combat, this is what Senran does best, and here it delivers in spades. As always you have your light and heavy attacks. You can also transform to boost your attack and defense, and use your super movers. Not to mention the tried and true Frantic Mode where you forgo all defense to have the attack boost of a lifetime. As always, you will die in just a few hits on higher difficulties.

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There are some new additions to the series. One is the the Burst system. As you deal and take damage, your Burst gauge will rise. Once full, you can activate it. Once activated, your damage output will increase even further, and once depleted, you’ll automatically use your Burst attack which will deal a significant amount of damage to anybody nearby.

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The game will also tell you when an attack is coming and how much range the move has. It’s certainly an interesting addition that seemingly can’t be turned off, but it makes parrying infinitely easier to manage since you’ll always know when something is coming at you.

 

In terms of levels, things get a little weird since it becomes a middle ground of Burst and the first 3D Brawler game, Shinovi Versus. In this remake of Burst, the size of the maps are extremely truncated compared to Shinovi Versus let alone Estival Versus. Maps can be completed in only a few minutes. I can’t recall a map that had more than 5 or 6 waves of enemies. Even then, a well placed combo can eliminate a good portion of a wave all on its own. And while it’s good to go through a level as fast as possible, most levels contain bonus scroll items which has lore components which is nice. They can be found in breakable items, some normal enemies may be carrying them, and some hidden higher-leveled enemies may be carrying them as well, so it’s always good to keep a sharp look-out.
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Considering I played this on PC, it’s only fair to discuss my experience with it. To quickly outline my specs, I have a 8700k, 16GB of RAM, and a GTX 1070. With this, I was able to achieve 4k 60fps with ease on the highest settings. The only time it goes below 60 seems to be during transformation sequences and God forbid you face or use someone that mainly uses projectiles like Mirai. If you do, expect to go from 60 to the middle 40’s for a brief moment. The upgraded final boss battle will tank frame rates to the same extent as well.

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There are some technical issues on the PC side. There are some text bugs, such as the game telling you, you failed a mission when you actually succeeded. But, the main one I faced is that unplugging your controller will cause the game to crash immediately unless it was out of focus. It should be noted that you can only change the graphics settings in-game which you have access to after doing the first mission in either school.

 

While I won’t give away how the new Orochi fight works, I would kill for a remake of 2 or for more of that in 7Even, it was Marvelous. However, what wasn’t so Marvelous was the fact that the character-driven side stories aren’t here in place of general missions. Granted, it was like that in Burst, but it’s a shame to see it gone. Same with multiplayer although the game tended to quickly die after launch so it may not have been worth it to put in.

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Overall, I had a really good time coming back to the series after the last entry left such a bad taste in my mouth. One might even say, my faith has been Re:Newed. Outside of some technical issues that can easily be patched out, it felt good going back to the start of the franchise with a couple gameplay tweaks. If this is meant to be a preview for how 7Even goes, I can’t wait.

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The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel III is heading to PS4 Fall 2019

This morning at Pax South NIS America has announced that The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel III will be heading westward this Fall.

SPOILER WARNING FOR I&II

Nearly a year and a half has passed since the Erebonian civil war, and much has changed since then. From the shifting stances of countries to the internal politics of the Empire, and even the life of Rean Schwarzer, the shadows of the past have given way to the embers of a new chapter. Now graduated from Thors Military Academy, Rean has become an instructor at the Thors Branch Campus, a newly-opened academy that quickly finds itself thrust onto the national stage. It is here that he takes the lead of a brand new Class VII, and must guide a new generation of heroes into an unknown future. Though all is calm now, the nefarious Ouroboros organization continues to weave a dark plot that could engulf the entire continent in war…or perhaps something even more sinister.

Trails of Cold Steel III invites players into a world full of intrigue and excitement that is years in the making. They will embark on a whirlwind tour through the never-before-seen lands of the recently expanded Erebonian countryside, and encounter fresh faces as well as old friends familiar to fans of the series. In true Trails fashion, the deep, engaging story pairs with an incredible cast of characters and a combat system refined over decades of innovative RPG worldbuilding. This renowned title has also now been developed natively for PlayStation®4 hardware, a series first.

Key Features:

  • • Welcome to the New Class VII – Explore the newly annexed lands of the Empire with a brand new squad, and catch up with familiar faces from the past.
  • • An Immersive Story – Experience an epic story developed across three titles, and crafted for new and old fans alike. Also includes an interactive introduction to catch up new players to the ongoing story so anyone can dive right in to the world of Trails of Cold Steel.
  • • Combat Honed to a Fine Edge – Challenge oncoming threats with a combat system that has been refined over the course of decades. The addition of features like Brave Order and the Break System open up new possibilities in battle.

While it is surprising that XSEED will not be localizing this like they did for Cold Steel and Cold Steel II we are excited to see this next entry in the saga will be coming to the west. While NISA may have had a rough start with localizing Falcom games with problems of YS VIII, NISA has informed us that the localization team consists of localizers who worked on the previous two games.

The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel III launches this fall exclusively for PlayStation 4. There is currently no word on a PC port of this game, but we will report on more as the news breaks. Be sure to be on the lookout for our review of Cold Steel III later this year!

 

Zanki Zero Last Beginning Launches on March 19, 2019

Today SpikeChunsoft has announced the western release date for their upcoming game Zanki Zero Last Beginning. You can pick this game up on March 19th for either PlayStation 4 or PC!

Zanki Zero: Last Beginning comes to the PlayStation®4 system and Steam® on March 19, 2019! The game will be released physically and digitally with the Zanki Zero: Last Beginning Survival Soundtrack CD! The Soundtrack CD is available with the Day 1 Edition (PlayStation®4) or as an Early Purchase Bonus (Steam®[PC]).

-PR

In the meantime, you can check out this fresh batch of english screenshots of the game! Be on the look out for our review of Zanki Zero next year!

The Caligula Effect Overdose Launches March 12th in North America

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For those of you wanting a second crack at FuRyu’s The Caligula Effect, NISA has some news for you this morning. The Caligula Effect Overdose will be launching in North America on March 12th, and March 15th in Europe.

It takes more than one to escape this fabricated reality! Recruit your fellow students to execute unique combo attacks in The Caligula Effect: Overdose, coming to Nintendo Switch™, PlayStation®4, and Steam® March 12, 2019 in North America, March 15 in Europe, and March 22 in Australia and New Zealand!

-PR

You can still pre-order the Limited Edition of this game on NISA’s website! Although for those of you who want this game in English now, the South East Asian release of this game is currently out now with a full English sub, however that is only for the PS4 version. Switch owners and PC users will have to wait until the official release to get their hands on this game.

Corpse Party Book of Shadows PC Review

Developer: 5pb, Team GrisGris

Publisher: XSEED

Release Date: October 29

Platform(s): PC

A few years ago, the original version of Corpse Party was released in the west. It is a really fun horror adventure game that released on the PC-98. Now, Corpse Party Book of Shadows is a retelling and at the same time a sequel to Corpse Party: Blood Covered which in itself is a remake of the original PC-98 game.

That said, if possible, it would be best to play the remake instead of the original in order to play this game. Sure you can get by with some knowledge considering a good portion of the game is the same. However, to make the most of everything, Blood Covered is definitely preferred.

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The narrative in Book of Shadows, is not just a sequel, but a direct sequel to Blood Covered. In the final bad end of Blood Covered, Satoshi is the only one who remembers the series of horrifying events while everyone else thinks it was just a weird dream. The day continues on only for Satoshi to notice that he was living the same day they all were teleported to Heavenly Host. As you can imagine, it ultimately ends with the cast teleported to Heavenly Host once more but now with Satoshi thinking of a way to save his friends this time.

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Sadly, we quickly learn saving them is not an option and saving them now will only make their death much more gruesome later. With an example being one of the characters that used to hang around got caught slipping. All of these new instances are just as horrifying if not more horrifying when compared to the previous entry. These new experiences also give new context and add story elements to what happened in Heavenly Host as well.

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Did you know that this entry is a major shift in terms of gameplay? Beforehand, you could explore the school as much as the game would allow. That’s still the case here. However, the game has gone from an adventure game, where the game was shown from a top-down perspective, to a point and click adventure game with cutscenes playing out as if it were a visual novel. This works because it’s still just as scary to other entries. Thanks to the game’s artwork, and overall sound design which are absolutely fantastic.

Now, I did just say you can explore the school as much as you want. That’s true and untrue at the same time. As you continue to explore the school, and its objects, the darkness will slowly start to consume you which will lead to a game over. In typical Corpse Party fashion, there are quite a few ways to get a game over so think logically in your actions.

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The PC port of this title is for the most part pretty good. The game was able to run at 1080p 144fps and 4k 60fps on my respective monitors and my goodness the game looks gorgeous now. The fact that the game’s original audio was able to be used to makes this the definitive version of the game bar none.

The PC version does not come without faults from what I’ve experienced. These issues can easily be patched but they should be noted for launch players. For one, when trying to play the game using the full screen function, the game refused to work properly. By that I mean, it was mixing up my displays. When I was trying to do 4k, the game would not display at all. However, it would still run. Problem was, it would be running on the 1080p monitor. Same goes the other way around but that wasn’t as big of an issue.

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Another issue I had with the game was testing out the controller. The game detected it just fine. However, the game would bug out on menus with me thinking there was a problem with my PS4 analog when in-fact there wasn’t. For the time being, using a controller is just absolutely out of the question. Granted, if this is only with the PS4 controller I wouldn’t be able to confirm since it’s the only console controller I have.

If you take away those few issues, the game is fantastic through and through. It is honestly my favorite Corpse Party entry in the franchise and just as easily my favorite in the horror genre as a whole.

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Warriors Orochi 4 Review – Guess Who’s Back?

Developer: Omega Force

Publisher: Koei Tecmo

Platform: PlayStation 4*, PC (Steam), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

ESRB Rating: T

Release Date: October 16th, 2018

MRSP: $59.99

*The PS4 Pro Version was used to review this game

Thank you, Koei Tecmo for providing a review copy!

Of all the various crossovers, anime tie-ins, and original musou franchises Omega Force has developed over the years none have quite caught my attention the way that the “Warriors Orochi” series has. The concept of the coolest warriors from the Three Kingdoms period of China and the Warring States period of Japan coming together to fight mythical creatures, gods, and sometimes demons just sounded so ridiculously silly that I couldn’t resist trying them out. Little did I know that this series would bolster more characters, weapons, and over the top attacks than any other musou game. Two console generations, a few sequels and repackages later and Warriors Orochi 4 is hot on our doorstep. Does it stack up to its predecessors? Today we’re going to find out.

1

Story:
As previously mentioned, this series has been known for its rather ludicrously goofy and unrealistic storylines that always manage to top the previous one in terms of scale. The last game had both the heroes of the Three Kingdoms and Warring States periods respectively defeat the evil serpent king Orochi and save the mystic world, only to be transported back to their own worlds having their memories of the event wiped in the process as not to affect the flow of time. This time, the gods of olympus have plucked the heroes back into a mysterious world that merges bits and pieces of each world together. With the servants of Orochi appearing once again, the heroes set out to solve the mystery of why the gods have summoned them to this magical realm. In terms of quality, it’s a pretty average story. It was chock full of fanservice and enjoyable moments, which kept it from ever being a grind. It manages to give everyone a little bit of screen time and with a 100+ character roster that is quite the feat.

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Graphics:
Warriors Orochi 4 is exactly equal to the recently reviewed “Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada” seeing as how it runs on the exact same engine with no visual upgrades whatsoever. The frame rate stays at about a 45-50 FPS average at up-scaled 4K resolution. It doesn’t have any of the frame rate issues found in the launch version of “Dynasty Warriors 9”. The character models are nice and all of the new levels are easy on the eyes and have very vibrant color schemes.

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Audio/Music:
This iteration of the Orochi series has easily the widest variety of music. In addition to the remixes and songs from each of the “Dynasty Warriors” and “Samurai Warriors” series, the original songs created for Warriors Orochi 4 are spectacular. A lot of the orchestration uses the heavy hitting piano chords found in something like “Kingdom Hearts” and that’s an easy way to win me over. Most of the sound effects and noise queues are taken from other musou games. There’s nothing great but nothing to complain about either.

-Sample of the Soundtrack-

Gameplay:
As with most musou games, the combat is a fairly simple hack and slash with various combos and extenders being unlocked as you play through the story. Orochi 4 adds an interesting magic system. In addition to your musou (special attack) meter, the magic meter is a second bar you have to manage which allows you to combat new enemy types which can only be damaged by magic attacks. It makes the combat a little bit more dynamic as you have to manage what attacks are for what enemy. It also allows you to instantly summon your horse so you do not have to deal with awkward pathfinding AI as with the last games that made you call your horse and wait for it to find you. It’s actually quite a nice improvement and helps traversing around the map a lot smoother.

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Content:
If every musou game had as much content as this game does, there wouldn’t be half as many complaints against these games by the fans. Warriors Orochi 4 has the largest roster in the entire history of any musou game, as well as a huge array of stages. One complaint is that 90 percent of the stages are combined stages from previous games and it reuses a good bit of content from previous games in the series. However, it’s not a huge issue. Between the story mode which takes roughly 20 hours with another 2 or 3 of side missions, there’s a lot of replay ability with bonus objectives and extra difficulties added in the post game. On top of this, there is a 3v3 PVP mode you can play online that reminds me a lot of the versus game mode from “Dynasty Warriors 3”. It had some netcode issues early on in my play through but on the second day I went back they were patched so it won’t be a problem for launch.

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Overall:
As a fan of musou games, it would be impossible for me not to recommend this game to people who might be curious about the series or veterans looking for their next button mashing fix. While more than half of the stages are lifted from the games they were originally from, a fun story, great music, and enjoyable frantic combat makes Warriors Orochi 4 a must have for any fan of these characters or franchises.

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Fist of the North Star Lost Paradise Review You’re Already Dead

 

Developer: Ryu ga Gotoku Studio

Publisher: SEGA

Platform(s): PlayStation 4

Release Date: October 2nd

ESRB Rating: M

MRSP: $59.99

 

Fist of the North Star Lost Paradise is a crossover between Fist of the North Star and SEGA’s Yakuza series. A crossover in terms of gameplay. You are thrown into the Fist of the North Star Universe with the flare of everything the Yakuza series has to offer. As a fan of both series, the combination of the two is something that I never thought I had wanted. How did the crossover fair? Is it a standout title in the genre of anime video games, or is this game already dead?

Read the rest of this entry

Serve Up More Drinks in N1RV ANN-A Coming to PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC in 2020

Fans of the cyberpunk bar simulator VA-11 HALL-A are in for some fantastic news today. This morning the developer Sukeban games has announced a sequel to the cult hit titled N1RV ANN-A to be released on the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC sometime in 2020.

Sukeban Games, the developers ofVA-11 HALL-A – the acclaimed booze ‘em up which has sold more than 200,000 copies – will release a sequel in collaboration withYsbryd Games. N1RV ANN-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action will come to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PC in 2020.
Like VA-11 HALL-A, players will control a bartender. Sam works at N1RV ANN-A, Saint Alicia’s most iconic and luxurious bar. Learn about Sam’s patrons and the cyberpunk world of N1RV ANN-A by mixing up drinks and selecting ingredients. Different drinks will once again lead to different branches in the narrative. Replay missions to improve scores, explore different dialogue options and unlock secret missions.
PR
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N1RV ANN-A seems to be a big step away from Glitch City in VA-11 HALL-A. Take a look at some of the information provided about this upcoming game.
Escape from VA11 HALL-A’s Glitch City to Saint Alicia, an idyllic paradise with an upscale bar called N1RV ANN-A. But opulence and extravagance are merely smokescreens: the artificial island hides a seedy underbelly. Its dystopian economy touches all aspects of life as bar patrons contend with mafia extortion, trafficking and other sordid crimes. For bartender Sam, trouble hits close to home. Her relationship with her partner Leon, who moonlights as a Yakuza, is on the rocks, and she works hard to care for their 8-year-old son, Tony.
In N1RV ANN-A’s cyberpunk world, people stop at nothing to live luxuriously, even when it means augmenting their bodies to conform to extreme fads. Become acquainted with customers who frequent the bar, including erotic comic creator Parka and Sam’s gun-toting boss Iris, and serve up delicious real-life recipes with ingredients like vodka and tropical juices. Drink orders are as volatile as emotions in N1RV ANN-A – experiment with different drinks and see what happens!
Explore various story outcomes based on which drinks are served and whose lives are changed. Players can replay missions to improve their scores, explore branching dialogue options and unlock secret missions. Earn better tips by relating to customers through their drinks, and spend hard-earned cash on bills, decorations and Sam’s son, Tony. Will Sam be able to move on and put misdeeds behind her as she embarks on this new cyberpunk bartending adventure?
“Most games use a big-picture perspective, but what made VA11 HALL-Aspecial was its focus on the characters and their problems,” said Christopher “Kiririn51” Ortiz, co-founder, Sukeban Games. “It’s about getting to know people on a personal level, this time with a shiny new location, more options for drink orders, and more ways to relate to customers.”
PR
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While fans of the first game do have to wait a bit before they can get their hands on this game, it is good to see that the original was a success and that we are getting a sequel! For those of you interested in the series, you can pick up VA-11 HALL-A on your PlayStation Vita or on Steam, and you can check our review of it here. The game is also making its way to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch next year as well!

 

Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker Review – The Next Ninja Storm?

Developer: Soleil Ltd.

Publisher: Bandai Namco

Platform: Playstation 4/Xbox One/PC (Steam)*

ESRB Rating: T

Release Date: August 31st, 2018

MRSP: $59.99

*The PC Version was used for this review

Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker is the first home console Naruto game to be released outside of the “Ultimate Ninja Storm” series since 2010. It does away the traditional three on three battle system popularized in the Storm games and introduces a new multiplayer oriented format that pits teams of four players against each other in a “Dragon Ball Xenoverse” esque hubworld. Does this game manage to prove that the series has legs to stand on outside of the Ultimate Ninja games? Today, we chakra dash right in and take a look.

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Story:
The story in Shinobi Striker is extremely slim and only serves to set up the various missions and online modes. There is a short explanation that the leaf village is hosting a “Ninja World Tournament” and that everyone who is worth anything is training to try and become the best ninja around. This leads into the singleplayer and multiplayer modes after a short tutorial. The only other aspects of a story are the short cutscenes before or during missions that can introduce boss battles or have short character interactions setting up for the task at hand.

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Graphics:
This game shines surprisingly well in the graphical department. The well crafted cell shading coupled with the great Unreal Engine 4 particles creates quite the visual spectacle in the middle of teamfights. All of the moves from the source material are done perfectly and translate really well to the 4v4 player versus player format without it being too over stimulating visually. As for the optimization aspect of things I was able to play at a 4K resolution with mostly 60FPS on max settings on an AMD FX-8370 and a GTX 970 respectively during the course of my playthrough.

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Audio/Music:
While there isn’t any way for Soleil to copy some of the more memorable tracks from the anime, they did a bang up job at crafting tracks that immerse you in Naruto’s deeply crafted world. Most tracks keep the adrenaline pumping while not being too outstanding or distracting from the fight. The sound design does a good job of capturing the feeling from the anime, with most of the sound effects being directly pulled from it. Other than that there isn’t much to say about the audio aspects of the game.

-Sample of the Soundtrack-

Gameplay:
Easily being the strongest thing this game has going for it, Shinobi Striker’s gameplay is a satisfying though sometimes frustrating experience. It plays like a beat em up more than an actual fighting game, with most game modes having objectives other than just defeating your opponents. There are four roles to pick from for your team with each having specific bonuses or abilities to contribute to the fight. Having a good balance is vital to your victory. The non PVP modes found in the game are the same four to five AI scenarios in which you either defend a target, fight off multiple enemies, or gather items as quickly as you can. They aren’t bad by any standard but they feel more akin to an MMO mission format versus a full retail release. The giant battles you’ll commonly fight yourself in are usually easy to keep track of and combat feels light and responsive. The camera is sometimes unresponsive when it comes to tracking enemies in the middle of the fight which can be very disorienting. While I had no issues with the online connectivity or getting into lobbies, the only other big problem I encountered was the balancing in the online lobby matchmaking. Most of the time one team would have a collection of low level players while the enemy team would be stacked with the higher level ones, which leads to an unfair playing ground due to the weapons and cosmetic you earn have effects on your in game stats. Despite a few setbacks, the combat is very fun and fulfills all your multiplayer Naruto fantasies.

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Content:
Here is where Shinobi Striker starts to hurt the most. The amount of stages can be counted on both hands. While they’re big, they start to become very repetitive when you play online. The “Story” can be completed in roughly 10 hours with the few post game missions unlocked taking another 5 hours or so. There really is not a lot of content to experience after you beat the game. This would be acceptable if there was more content for the multiplayer side of things but both the amount of levels and the progression systems are both lacking. The character customization on the other hand is actually quite nice with a good amount of options to choose from and the mentor system allows you to learn a good number of techniques to use in battle.

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Overall:
Shinobi Striker is a game with a solid foundation that just needs more of everything. The combat is great, and the customization options are plenty but a lack of game modes and unbalanced matchmaking create a sometimes frustrating experience. A lacking progression system and little to no post game content bring down what could have been a great game. Hopefully, it will receive the polish and content it needs post launch but as of now it isn’t worth full price.

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