Author Archives: mankoto

The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel I Review

Developer: Nihon Falcom

Publisher: XSEED Games

Platform: PlayStation 4

ESRB Rating: T

Release Date: 3/26/19

Ever since Trails of Cold Steel launched back in 2015, I had a feeling this series was special and was much more than your typical JRPG. With the release of Trails of Cold Steel III later this year, I found myself revisiting Trails of Cold Steel yet again. But this time, it’s the PS4 release.

Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

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.

senran kagura burst re_newal - 07

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.

senran kagura burst re_newal - 04

 

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.

senran kagura burst re_newal - 02

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.

senran kagura burst re_newal - 01

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.
senran kagura burst re_newal - yumi 01
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.

senran kagura burst re_newal - 03

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.

senran kagura burst re_newal - yumi 03

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.

SKSite.png

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.

CPBoS_2

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.

CPBoS_3

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.

CPBoS_5

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.

CPBoS_1

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.

CPBoS_6

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.

BookSite.png

Senran Kagura Reflexions Review

Developer: HONEY∞PARADE GAMES

Publisher: XSEED

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

ESRB Rating: M

A Review Copy Was Provided by XSEED for the Purpose of Review

Senran Kagura: Reflexions is a new take on the Senran Kagura franchise. This iteration of the franchise is a bit different from the others.It’s set with Asuka trapped in an illusion and she needs your help with getting out of it.

mpv-shot0165.png

Read the rest of this entry

Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk Review – Don’t Sleep on This

Developer: Nippon Ichi Software

Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software USA

Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

ESRB Rating: M

A Review Copy Was Provided by Nippon Ichi Software USA for the Purpose of Review

 

It’s always interesting to see companies branch out from what they normally do. Granted, NIS has been branching out for the past few years to a point where the only real current staple  series they have is: Disgaea and for being known for having some needlessly complex systems. some games. Unfortunately, this review isn’t about the marriage of these two things as Disgaea in some ways can be considered complex on its own. Instead, this is about NIS adding needlessly complex systems to a genre they’re unfamiliar with.

Read the rest of this entry

428 Shibuya Scramble Review

Developer:Abstraction Games

Publisher: Spike Chunsoft

Platform: PS4, PC

Release Date: September 3rd

A Review Copy Was Provided by Spike Chunsoft

It’s been a long time coming, but 428 Shibuya Scramble finally makes its way westward after its initial release in Japan almost 10 years ago on the Nintendo Wii. Now on PS4 and PC, the west gets a chance to see why people have been clamoring for this title.

Read the rest of this entry

Shining Resonance Refrain Review- Not a Shinning Example

Developer: SEGA

Publisher: SEGA

Platform(s): PS4*, Nintendo Switch, XBO, PC

Release Date: June 10th, 2018

ESRB Rating: T

MRSP: $49.99

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen anything Shining related here in the west, the last game being a 2016 fighting game featuring characters from Shining games that were never localized, Blade Arcus from Shining: Battle Arena. Before that, despite the constant release of Shining games in Japan on PSP, Shining’s presence in the west more or less disappeared after the release of Shining Force EXA for the PS2 back in 2007. That said, Shining moved back to consoles in 2014 with the release of Shining Resonance on PS3. That version wasn’t localized, but it has been remastered for current generation consoles.

Read the rest of this entry

Demon Gaze II Review The Demon’s Gaze Back

Developer: Experience

Publisher: NIS America

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita*, PC

ESRB Rating: T

Release Date: 11/14/17

Thank You NIS America for A Review Copy of this Game

Experience does it again in releasing yet another DRPG on the Vita. However this time, it’s a sequel to one of their most popular hits – Demon Gaze. However the landscape of DRPG’s have changed since then. Experience themselves have released more than half a dozen DRPG’s on the platform since Demon Gaze released. Not to mention other games from other developers as well.

Read the rest of this entry

Yomawari Midnight Shadows Review

Developer: Nippon Ichi Software

Publisher: NIS America

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita*, PC

ESRB Rating: M

Release Date: 10/24/17

Thank You NIS America for A Review Copy of this Game

It’s that time of the year again – horror games are releasing and this year brings us Yomawari: Midnight Shadows. Yomawari Midnight Shadows is the sequel to Yomawari: Night Alone. This time, the game features dual protagonists: Haru and Yui and it’s in a new town. Haru and Yui go to a mountain to view the fireworks. On their descent from the mountain they get separated, with the main story of the game getting them back together.

Read the rest of this entry

Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash review Not a splash. Just a drip.

Developer: Marvelous

Publisher: XSEED

Platform: PS4

ESRB Rating: T

Release Date: September 26th, 2017

MRSP:$69.99/$59.99

Thank you to XSEED for providing the game for reviewing purposes.

While Summer is over, you can keep it going forever in Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash. The titular series takes us to the pool this time around for some crazy ninja water gun fights. But wait, melee attacks and ninja arts are more or less banned, so how does this play out? By being a third person shooter of course. That said, we’re going into complete uncharted territory here since the franchise is known for being a brawler/musou-esque gameplay design depending on which game it is. Not only that, but this game is also the series’s 5th year anniversary game go figure.

My Great Game - My Great Capture - 2017-09-21 00-31-38.mp4_snapshot_01.25_[2017.09.21_09.20.12].png

Read the rest of this entry