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By Jonathan Balofsky On 24 Jun, 2016 At 09:51 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments
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LJN is a notorious name among gamers. The company put out so many games of questionable quality that they are synonymous with bad NES games. But not everyone hates their games, and some even argue they are good. This is the basis for Matt Ezero’s youtube series, The LJN Defender. Matt feels LJN games get a bad rap and wants people to take a second look at them. This is a really unique thing and his videos are great. Matt really goes all out to make his argument for why some LJN games are not all that bad. He was greatly inspired to do this after replaying some LJN games such as Wolverine on the NES.  Matt also reviews retro games and rom hacks and now romhacker PACNSAKDAVE has decided to give matt his own adventure ala Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures.

The game is a rom hack of Wolverine but with numerous changes, and starring the LJN Defender himself. The game stars Matt, the Defender who while playing Wolverine, is zapped into the game along with a box of LJN games. The resulting fusion creates a new game where the Defender must fight through a world inhabited by various characters and objects from LJN games, including the Karate Kid, Back to The Future and The Ultimate Warrior (Matt’s favourite wrestler). You can interact with other characters such as Spider-man and can get help from Hulk Hogan himself (replacing Havok from the original game). The Berserker rage feature is still here, but the lives have been increased from two to eight. Lastly the strength move special does not drain health from the meter. In other worse this is a new game based on the original game but redesigned just enough for modern gamers and to make this more accessible.

Every game needs a villain, and replacing Sabretooth from Wolverine is the man who hates LJN as much as the Defender likes them, The Angry Video Game Nerd himself. The Nerd and his right hand man have set up a murder world for the Defender to fight through, and honestly, I think this is the perfect setup. LJN’s arch nemesis vs their biggest advocate. It just makes so much sense.

The controls are spot on, even more than in the original game, and the great soundtrack is still there. This is something very much worth checking out. I think others will have as much fun as I did.

I played this on the PC and my controller worked great (although keyboard controls are possible), however PACNSACDAVE also is selling actual NES carts of the game here If you want the PC Version then it is free here. This is not an infomercial for the game, and I am not being paid to shill it. I simply want people to know all the options they have for playing this game.

You can see a video of The LJN Defender discussing the game here (Spoilers Included)

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I have always liked fighting games even if I have never been very big into the FGC. I loved games like Mortal Kombat and Tekken but I was always aware of Guilty Gear. It was that game that my friends would tell me about and let me play when I could. Guilty Gear has always been so different from most fighting games, it has been more intense for lack of a better word. If other fighting games are hard rock, then Guilty Gear is death metal. It has been a pioneer in the air-dasher subgenre of fighting games  and has brought many other innovations as well. The series has only gotten better with each installment and now in the Xrd subseries Guilty Gear is going all out.

Revelator and its predecessor Sign are two amazing works of art. The blend of 3D graphics and cell-shading to mimic the look of sprite art animation is amazing and creates the perfect look for the games. All of the effects and character animations are spot on and look great and true to the series.

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Music wise, Revelator continues the series’ tradition of awesome music. The character themes are great, the background music, menus and more all have great sounds, and the story mode has some amazing audio. The developers at Arc System Works spared no expense at creating an awesome sounding game here. The diverse metal soundtrack the game has is just epic and I could listen to these tunes for hours on end. The only audio part that was a downside for me was the changes in voice acting, with Xrd Revelator not having an English dub. Some didn’t like the English dub of Xrd Sign, but I did and I miss it since I think the voices fit the characters well.

Now that all those details are out of the way, let’s talk about the gameplay. The fighting in Xrd Sign was smooth yet sometimes a little too stiff with random elements popping in that could disrupt the flow of the game. These issues are mostly resolved with Revelator, giving a far smoother experience and much more straightforward. The combat mechanics are greatly refined and allow for more variety of attacks that what was commonly used in Xrd Sign. The matches I had were a big step up from Xrd Sign.

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Now to talk about the online play. The netcode is far superior in Revelator than in Xrd Sign and I have had no problems connecting for matches. I experienced no lag, no connection errors, just intense matches. The lobby system is also greatly overhauled, and Arc System Works did a great job with this new lobby system. It is far more inviting and easy to use, but with one downside. The larger the lobby, the weaker the connectivity becomes, and it can lead to the only online issues I have seen in the game. Hopefully this gets worked out soon, because aside from that, the online functions great.

The thing that needs to be mentioned the most, and that many are ecstatic over, is the tutorial mode. The tutorial in Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator is the single greatest tutorial in any fighting game there ever was. I am not exaggerating. It helps walk you through the basics though unique interactions, and gradually helps you get the hang of the more difficult mechanics. The best pat of that is how it is incredibly welcoming to new players and helps them get into the game and not feel overwhelmed.  However, the tutorial doesn’t end there and does something I have never seen before. It gives Matchup tutorials. The game will actually teach you how you should fight against other characters (or at least make suggestions for how to do it, since everyone can form their own strategy), which is the most welcome thing in the tutorial.

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Many people want to play fighting games, and Revelator wants to be that fighting game you will play. Xrd Sign was good but rough around the edges and didn’t have the best online, but Revelator has addressed this all. Revelator is Xrd Sign taken to the next level and done completely right. If you like fighting games, or even just want to try one, then this is a game for you. I must highly recommend it. This is a great game and I am excited to see what future support they have in mind for this series.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 22 Jun, 2016 At 01:55 AM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo Wii/Wii U, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments
kick and fennick

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2D Platformers are very common to see among indie games, and while most try and put their own spin on the genre, not many succeed. Kick and Fennick is one of the few games that genuinely does bring a sense of change to platformers, and it does so with one key change: there is no jump button at all. You instead use the rifle to project yourself into the air. Its a brilliant take on the genre and really does open up new ways to play.

Kick and Fennick is a physics based platformer that in addition to actually being innovative, is incredibly fun. I found myself playing for over 2 hours before I realized I had gotten carried away. The controls take some time to get used to and it can be difficult to adjust to, but once you do get used to them the fun begins. The game has several unique locations such as underwater levels and it remains fun in all of them.

The music in the game is excellent and really fits the sense of adventure the game has. The sound effects in general are all great and really help enhance the game.  In fact, considering how you sue the gun to project yourself in the game, the sound effects really help with pushing that concept. Its weird but it really does sell the gimmick of the game better. Visually the game is great. The graphics are amazing and visual effects in general are awesome.

The game has a story but it is really minimal, but what it has is sufficient. The real draw is the gameplay which can be compared to Portal in terms of its physics engine. Mere words cannot do it justice, as it needs to be played to be understood. There are multiple difficulty settings and game modes and this really helps with the replay value.

All in all, this is a great game. It isn’t perfect but it is one that I can easily recommend.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 Jun, 2016 At 04:31 AM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo Wii/Wii U, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments
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Okay, this is one of the more…unique games on the Wii U eshop. It is supposed to be a Metroid Prime inspired game set in a beehive and right before the bee’s version of E3. With a setup like that, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The game is a first person adventure game that clearly does take influence from Metroid Prime, with exploration and combat being a clear sign. But being inspired by a great game does not mean your game will be great. This is unique but not standout if that makes sense. The gameplay mechanics are all solid and there is a definite charm to the game itself, but there is also a sense of lacking in this. It is inspired by Metroid but doesn’t copy it well, and the combat and exploration are ultimately very shallow experiences.

The game has some good humor as you explore and interact with other bees. There are even jokes poking fun at the industry, which is good for a Meta game such as this. The downside to that is the numerous typos that detract from the experience. This humor though does not distract from the fact that the game is very bare. There are only a few enemies and not many bosses. The game feels like an extended demo of a game rather than a full game itself, and that really hurts it in my eyes.

Bottom line is that this game feels painfully average and I honestly cant recommend it. It is cheap and good for a laugh or two but the humor gets old fast and the experience loses itself quickly. I would suggest passing on this as it is just too unique in a bad way for its own good. The developers had some good ideas but they did not blend well. The end result: A game that is both average and too unique and bad on both counts.

By Garrett Green On 14 Jun, 2016 At 10:39 AM | Categorized As Conventions, Editorials, Featured, News, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4 | With 0 Comments
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No GravatarThis year at Sony’s E3 Press Conference, they decided to put on quite the show. There focus this year was on the games. Now, you may be thinking, “Well duh, it is a game conference.” But this year it was just games, with very little talking in between. Just trailer after trailer after trailer, with some gameplay as well. To me, this was a pleasant surprise. Sony brought some old familiar faces and dropped some new IPs for the future. Here is the rundown:

Sony started things off with a live orchestra followed by their first gameplay demo. We weren’t sure if this was something new or what until a mysterious man stepped out of the shadows to reveal himself as a grizzled bearded Kratos. That’s right, the God of War is back and having literally killed all of Greek mythology, he has decided to tackle Norse mythology instead. It appears to be a sequel but it could also be a soft reboot or retelling. We’ll have to wait for more details.

Next, we got a trailer for Days Gone, a post apocalyptic zombie-esque game about a biker. That’s really all I could tell you since the trailer didn’t show a whole lot (more on it later) but I was picking up a The Last of Us vibe. Then we got another trailer for The Last Guardian with an actual release date! The Last Guardian is set to release October 25, 2016.

We got a gameplay demo for Horizon: Zero Dawn. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this one. It’s a good looking game, and the demo showed off some crafting, dialogue choices, machine animal riding (you have to watch the demo to understand that) and some combat. Looks like it’ll at least be a decent game.

One of my Dark Horse picks of the Sony Conference was Quantic Dreams’ Detroit: Become Humans. The trailer shows off how your character deals with situations and how your choices effect the outcome. They showed off a lot of different choices that had different outcomes, and that’s got me excited. These guys made Heavy Rain so I know they know how to but in branching choices, but I’m hoping that this game can really do that and give a lot of different outcomes that effect the story like the trailer is alluding at.

What looked like another P.T. demo turned out to be the next installment of the Resident Evil Series with Resident Evil 7. This looks to be going back fully to its horror roots, maybe even going supernatural, and it will also be fully compatible with Sony’s VR set. I don’t know if the non VR version will be fully first person or if the trailer was just trying to hype up VR, we’ll have to wait and see. Playstation users will also be able to play the demo for RE7 now. RE7 is set to release January 24, 2017.

Speaking of VR, after the RE7 trailer Sony announced the price and release date for is VR headset. The Playstation VR will release on October 13, 2016 and will cost $399 and have 50 VR games by the end of this year. Some games announced for the VR, but without any release dates at this time, includ Farpoint, a new first person shooter, Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission, and Batman: Arkham VR.

Something many longtime Playstation owners have been clamoring for was dropped… sort of. Crash Bandicoot is back baby! Crash Bandicoot 1, 2, and 3 are being remastered from the ground up. Crash will also be appearing in Skylanders Imaginators.

We also got a new Final Fantasy XV with some really cool action scenes and the reveal that it will also have a VR mode. Judging by the trailer, this seems to be a separate thing from the actual story proper. Not sure exactly what it will be but if you are getting a VR set it could be something to check out. Sony seems to really be doubling down on the whole Virtual Reality. FFXV is set to release September 30, 2016.

Remember one of the most downvoted videos in history was the reveal trailer for Call of Duty: Infinite War? Well Sony showed off some gameplay in space… I don’t know, it looked pretty interesting. Activision definitely needs to change up the formula and take the series in a different direction than just further and further into the future, but this seems alright. There was also the reveal the Playstation users with get the Modern Warfare Remaster 30 days before anyone else.

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens got a nice little trailer. IF you like the Lego Game series this looks like another must have. It also got a release date of June 28. A demo is available on the PS4 if you are interested in trying it out.

My other dark horse pick… and I can’t even really explain it. Hideo Kajima (need I say more?) is free from Konami and has teamed up with Sony and brought us Death Stranding. It has a naked Norman Reedus and a baby connected to him by some sort of metal umbilical cord and dead sea life all around him and something way off in the background… it’s weird! And I’m so intrigued to see what Kojima can do outside of Metal Gear Solid. Thank you to IZUNIY for uploading a good quality of the trailer.

And for my favorite reveal (light horse pick?). Insomnia, creators of the Infamous series, is making a Spiderman game exclusively for the PS4. Insomnia really knows how to make an open world superhero game and what the showed in this trailer really looks good. We’ll have to wait and see but as of now this is what I am looking forward to the most.

Lastly, Sony finished off a demo of Days Gone. I still didn’t get a whole lot from this other than they are using the fast running/climbing zombies. Still got a big The Last of Us vibe which may or may not be good.

If you want to watch the press conference in it’s entirety you can watch it here. The actual conference starts at 30 min in. Before and after is a little bit of Sony’s show before hand. E3 is just getting underway stay tuned for more E3 news

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Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome of Ice is the second of two Dragon Fantasy games on the Wii U. The first was a great game modelled after Dragon Quest but with several glitches that dragged it down in terms of enjoyment. So how does this one stack up?

The game from start to finish is more expanded than the first game, with combat and exploration revamped and redesigned. The game now takes more after other classic JRPGs as well as Dragon Quest. Its a nice direction to move in, rather than remain trying to do the same thing over and over. It also helps the game pay tribute to more of the great JRPGs that came before this.

Visually the game looks much better than the first game, almost on another level really. The music is also vastly improved over the original game. In fact almost everything across the board is bigger, better and more improved. A better storyline, better combat and gameplay, and better interactions and exploration. It is like the developers looked at the first game and challenged themselves to do it again but on a grander scale and make it better. They largely succeeded except for one issue.

The game has a major shortcoming and it is the same as the first game. There are quite a few glitches in the game and some can force you to restart your play session altogether. You can start talking and suddenly be unable to click off, or unable to interact with the shop or worse off all, find a house you were looking for has now disappeared. None of the buttons will work during some glitches but the music continues. Granted, these are much more rare than in the original game, but they still show up from time to time and it takes away from the fun fact a lot.

I would suggest waiting for a patch but once these are fixed, this game will be very much worth getting.

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 10 Jun, 2016 At 05:43 AM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo Wii/Wii U, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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Oh Twin Stick Shooters, one of my true loves in gaming. The genre has given us so many classic games and when I first heard of Dual Core. I was excited. I mean a Twin Stick co-op shooter with a story mode and an arcade mode? That just sounded perfect to me. So how did it stack up?

Dual Core makes excellent use of the Wii U gamepad for inventory mapping. If you pick up health packs or sub-weapons, you can use them by accessing them on the gamepad screen. This is a phenomenal way of handling sub-weapons and other items as in some twin stick shooters, the accidental use of bombs and other items is a problem always getting in the way because of hitting the wrong button. It is also extremely convenient to use  and makes the gameplay much more streamlined. The remaining buttons can then be used for attacking with the guns in different ways. This is a really neat idea and I love how it was done.

But how is the gameplay? Well to put it in one word: Fun. This is a great Twin Stick co-op game ( although it can be played solo as well) and a blast to play. The different weapons and upgrades that you pick up really help keep things fresh and the gameplay varied. Story mode is a great experience to play by yourself or with friends, but there is also an arcade mode. Arcade mode plays just like what it sounds like, a classic arcade style of playing a twin stick shooter. Its fun and a great way to spend some time if you want mindless fun ( thought some strategy is required)

The biggest fault I have with this game is that the audio is not the best. Its okay but just doesn’t feel right for this type of game.  It feels lacking in many respects and could have been better.

Overall though, Dual Core is a great Twin Stick shooter on Wii U and I highly recommend it. Gray Fin Studios did a great job with this one!

 

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I never played the original Odin Sphere when it came out. My first experience with VanillaWare was watching Muramasa The Demon Blade being played on a livestream. I liked what I saw and then tracked down videos of their other games. Odin Sphere struck me as unusual, as it was game that told a fairytale story with characters from all sorts of mythology, beautifully told and with excellent gameplay.

When a remake was announced, I knew I had to play it. This was my chance to experience the game on my own and not through watching someone else. I knew that changes had been made to the way the game was played in this remake but that was all I knew.

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a beautiful game for sure. It makes full use of what the Playstation 4 can do, with stunning 2D graphics that look CGI at times. I think of this less as a remake of the original Odin Sphere, and more of a retelling, which is fitting given how the game is the telling of a story. The visuals are amazing and fluid and really makes you just stare at times. The framerate is stable and I encountered no screen tearing at all. This is one of the most beautiful games on the PlayStation 4 and needs to be seen to be believed. Youtube videos cannot do it justice, it needs to be seen on a TV screen. No frames of animation were wasted and every last action is animated so well that it seems too good to be real.

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There were concerns about how combat worked in the game, given how it worked in the demo. However, let me reassure you that the demo was not fully indicative of how the game actually plays. The combat is fluid, but requires thought. You need to plan your course of action so you do not accidentally find yourself in a bad situation by just running in, Hack’N’Slash style. The game’s RPG elements cannot be ignored, unless you want to do poorly.  The game’s combat is intuitive and well explained and more importantly, fun.

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir has an excellent mix of RPG elements and action in its gameplay, but the story deserves mention. It combines different folklores and mythologies and does it well. You will find yourself caring for these characters and their journey. The framing narrative was done well and I feel it is something more games should look into.

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The music is absolutely gorgeous and really helps move the story along. It just feels right for the game. I don’t know how to explain it, but some video game music just feels right and this is an example. With some games, the attempts to create an atmosphere with the soundtrack can lead to an overdone sound. Odin Sphere doesn’t make that mistake and perfectly creates that atmosphere for the game that gives it an epic feel.

Now as for flaws, there are some, mostly with the writing since it feels like the game can go on a tangent with the narrative. It creates pacing issues and can cause some annoyance. I also disliked the way the game shows you its mechanics and felt it could have been done a lot better.

Still, the game is excellent and I have to recommend it. This is a retelling of a classic, with wonderful new look.

 

 

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First Person Shooters have evolved a lot as a genre. From their beginnings with games like Wolfenstein 3D to modern games like Call of Duty and Halo, the genre has seen a lot of change. When Doom was big in the 90’s, there were many games that tried to ride its popularity but with characters who had more personality. From this we gained Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior, the latter being heavily based on the former, but with melee weapons as well. Both had characters spouting one liners and jokes that would not be acceptable today and had humor no longer seen as okay.

When Duke Nukem Forever finally launched after so many years of development, it was given a mixed reception in part because it was felt the game could not decide if it wanted to be a modern or retro style shooter. It tried to be both and didn’t succeed, so when a Shadow Warrior reboot was announced, many felt worried that the same would happen. However something else occurred in this instance and instead of making the same mistakes, they went in another direction.

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Shadow Warrior knows full well what it wants to be. It wants to be a modern take on the retro shooter while playing up what made the game awesome in the past.  The humor is offensive and crosses the line, but then it just crosses it again and again to the point of actually being funny. The game has classic ideas of how to use weapons and ammo but successfully integrates it with modern game mechanics.

You have regenerating health but there is a storyline explanation and it isn’t automatic, you have to manually activate it. That can be difficult in the heat of battle but you can also pick up health packs to heal like in classic games.  You can find money to upgrade your weapons as well and this will assist you in progressing in ways not done in most modern FPS games.

It isn’t perfect and there are issues in the game. The aiming is not perfect and can be off at times, the textures are abysmal in several areas and there is a lot of screen tearing and frame drops.  Some of the combat is just off as well as the game tries to encourage Melee Combat at times by not having enough ammo available. As well, the movement and jumping just seems to be programmed with mistimed jumps in mind. Still these faults ate not enough to make the game unplayable. There is enough fun to be had, especially with finding secrets the way you did in the original and other 90’s FPS games.

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I would be remiss if I did not mention that the story, while utterly ridiculous, is ridiculous in an amazing way. Its clichéd and stupid but extremely fun and is an enjoyable time. Lo Wang and his adventures are full of blood and gore but also humor and it’s a story that has consistency

Like I said, the game is not perfect but it knows full well what it wants to be and how to achieve that goal. I had fun playing this game and even with the issues it had, I felt like it was an awesome throwback to an older era. More importantly it was a throwback to an older era done right, and now with the upcoming sequel, I am even happier. The sequel looks to have fixed most of the issues I had with the game, including a rebalanced focus on weapons mechanics and new abilities.

Overall, while this is not perfect, it is a remake done the right way and I look forward to seeing what Devolver Digital has in store with the sequel beyond what they have already shown off.

 

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Ahhhhhh, Shoot-em-ups. one of my beloved genres of games to play, and twin stick shooters?  A personal favorite. Tachyon Project offers some new and interesting twists on the genre, but does it work?

Tachyon Project is one of the most unique twin stick shooters I have ever gotten my hands on. And while some may call it a “knock-off” and liken it to other games like Geometry Wars, I feel that is an unjust comparison. Tachyon Project has similar feel but is very different and thus should be viewed as its own thing.

The game has an impressive range of visuals, displaying a rush of images at once in a large kaleidoscope of colors and objects present to the player. While it’s not so intense that it would hurt my eyes, others players, especially ones with epileptic issues might should be careful. Still, the visuals and intense effects on display is an impressive sight to behold.

The stages are difficult, and at times intense, but they are not without reward. The leveling system allows you to gain more defense, weapons and abilities. You might have to grind a bit to gain everything but it is very much worth it. Death will come for you many times over but if you keep at it, the rewards are definitely worth sticking with it. A surprising aspect of the game though is the story mode. It does feel a bit….. cliche in places but is nonetheless still a great plus to a twin stick shooter game, giving it a rather rare feel to it, setting it apart from the rest in the genre.

The music is great and sound effects are spot on too. It really helps you get into the mood to have fun. It’s the kind of music that can make a good game better, like Ducktales, or Megaman.

In conclusion, if you got the spare cash and are looking for something to play for a while, give Tachyon Project a try. It ain’t perfect but it doesn’t need to be for you to have a blast.

REAL OTAKU GAMER is using WP-Gravatar