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After Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s success on the Nintendo Switch, I began to think of what other games might come from Wii U to Switch. There is one game I want more than others and that is Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze.

This might just be the best Donkey Kong game ever made. The Music by David Wise is excellent, and it had some truly amazing visuals that went against the grain for 2D platformers, even HD ones. Tthe enemies are memorable and great, especially unlike the Tikis from Returns, and were a worthy successor to the Kremlings. But most importantly, this has the best gameplay and level design in the series, with every level  being and feeling alive and bursting with energy. Every area, from the beaches to the frozen islands have a truly epic feel to them, which is greatly helped by the awesome David Wise soundtrack.

In addition, the characters are probably the best they have been in the series.feel great as well. Dixie Kong makes her return and truly shows why she was a beloved character. Also, for the first time in the series, you can play as Cranky Kong. Cranky plays like Scrooge McDuck from the Ducktales video game adaptations and is a truly worthy addition to the roster. Plus when you add in the hard modes, you could play as a different character than DK in single player. You could play as Diddy, Dixie or Cranky for the whole game, which opened up entire new play possibilities. This isn’t getting into the Time Trials, with the game encouraging speed running and allowed you to upload your replays for others to see.

The fact is that this is just too good a game to leave on the Wii U. This game deserves a second chance to make an impact and get a new audience and it should come to the Nintendo Switch. It could do very well there, especially with the overall momentum of the platform, and get better sales. the fact is that this is one of the most creative games on the Wii U, and I would even say among the most creative platformer games ever made. It is just that good and should be experienced by more.

 

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The above was the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of ROG or its staff.

By Nate VanLindt On 28 May, 2017 At 04:24 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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13,925.  693, no platinum trophies.  5,906 XP – Level 29.  These numbers are meaningless out of context.  The fact is, they’re pretty much meaningless in context as well.  Chances are, you already know what I’m talking about if you’re reading this, but for the few that don’t, the above numbers are gamer scores and achievement statistics.  Specifically my personal gamer statistics.  I had to look them up because I had absolutely no idea what they were and I didn’t really care.  They are from Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and Steam respectively if you’re wondering.  That’s the point, however.   Why have people become obsessed with their personal statistics?

Gamerscores and stats started almost at the same time as gaming with the advent of the high score.  The very first high score was in Sea Wolf, way back in 1976.  Most games of the early gaming era featured scoring systems of one kind or another, whether it be the number of points scored in a Pong game or the points from the number of alien ships shot down in Galaga.  High scores stuck around until the mid to late 80s, when the NES reigned supreme and longer, more complex games at home became the standard.  Even then, many games still had score tabulation functions, whether they were the game scores in R.B.I. Baseball or a run n’ gun like Contra by Konami.   In other words, high scores have always been kicking around, but as gaming advanced, high scores slowly disappeared and became less meaningful, excluding a handful of genres like SHMUPS (SHoot eM UPS such as R-Type, Gradius, and Raiden for those who aren’t familiar with the term). 

But then, something odd happened in 2005.  Microsoft introduced achievements on the Xbox 360.  All of the sudden, every time you completed a specific set task in a game, you got a digital attaboy.  A little notification would pop up on screen and tell you you’d completed a task that you didn’t even know you were working towards and it added to what Microsoft calls your “gamerscore”.  Suddenly people were trying to have the best gamerscore, competing with their friends, doing things they’d never bother to do in a game before and spending lots of extra time in a game to do it.  Companies noticed this.  Nearly every game had achievements in short order.  In 2007, Valve added their version of gamerscores, badges, to Steam.  The next year, Sony added Trophies to the PlayStation Network as well.  Suddenly, everyone had a scoring system to track how much better (or worse) you were than everyone else you knew.  People bought into it.  Companies offered rewards for the highest gamerscore and Microsoft even gave away a lifetime membership to Xbox Live Gold in 2013 to the player with the highest gamerscore.  The entire concept had entered the collective consciousness of gamers and they have accepted it as a standard.

Should we be paying attention to our gamerscore and our trophy list, however?  Perhaps we should not.  In 2006, Gears of War was released for the Xbox 360.  It was one of the first games I played that had achievements.  I’d seen the achievement notifications pop up before, but I generally just tolerated them.   As I played Gears of War, I reached the end of a section and defeated the Berserker the first time, earning the trophy “My Love For You Is Like A Truck”, a reference to a fairly obscure song called Berserker by a band called Love Among Freaks.  Unfortunately, the trophy notification popped up prominently onscreen in the middle of a cinema sequence, blocking me from seeing the cinema fully and destroying my immersion in the game instantly.  On top of that, I couldn’t go back and see the cinema again without replaying that entire section of the game.  From that moment on, I was dead set against gamerscore in all its iterations.

In case you didn’t know, you can actually turn off achievement notifications on both Microsoft and Sony consoles.  On the Xbox One, it’s under Settings,  All Settings, Preferences, Notifications.   For the PS4, the option is under Settings, Notifications.  I did this as soon as the option became available on each network (as far as I know, it still isn’t available on Steam unfortunately) and I never looked back.  As a gamer for over 30 years, I ask you to consider it this way.  Games are designed to have fun.  They’re a form of escapist entertainment.   We generally play games to try and either finish them or get a high score.  But with achievements, we play through tedious grinding activities just to get an ephemeral payout of gamerscore so we can brag to friends and strangers.  That’s not only weird, it borders on pointless.  Take Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for example.  I played Uncharted 4 right after it came out.  I blew through the game in my spare time (about a week).  The pacing is fantastic, the story moves just the right amount at a go, none of the gameplay holds you up too badly, but you still feel challenged.  It’s one of the most well-crafted games I’ve played in years in terms of pacing and structure.  I finished the game, had a blast, and came away fully satisfied with my experience.  I can’t speak highly enough of the game (keeping in mind that to enjoy it fully you must play the entire series in order).   Now, take a look at my personal trophies on the PS4 for Uncharted 4.

That’s right.  I got a measly 14 bronze trophies playing through a game that I raved about as one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.  A game that I just stated I was ‘fully satisfied’ with.  There are sixty-eight trophies in this game.  Sixty-eight!  Essentially, I didn’t ‘play the game’ according to the current thinking in gaming.  How could I possibly call myself a gamer?  Obviously, I don’t take gaming seriously enough, right?  Wrong.  Gaming is for fun, and I had fun playing Uncharted 4.  A lot of fun actually.  I don’t want to waste my limited free time finding 109 treasures that have no bearing on the story in my well-paced story-based game.  I am not interested in spending hours hanging from ropes to get the trophy for making 20 headshots while hanging from a rope.  And I certainly don’t want to buy an apple just to let the lemur steal it in chapter 11.  Because that’s not fun.  It’s tedious make-work in a game I’m playing for entertainment.  And achievements, trophies, and badges get much more ridiculous than that, up to and including repeating a specific activity or action thousands of times just to get that pop-up payoff.   Let’s call it what it really is, a Pavlovian response pattern that reinforces obsessive-compulsive tendencies in a mostly antisocial social sub-group.   In short, they are a prize with no value.

And yet there is a large and vocal demographic online that openly mocks anyone who dismisses the value of achievements.  Gamers often minimize the impact of these psychological tools, resorting to simplistic responses such as ‘if you don’t like them, just ignore them’, or ‘only people that suck at gaming hate trophies’.  Who is missing the point here?  Obviously, games are designed for both types of gamers now, the trophy hunters and the purists.  There’s no arguing that.  But are game designers themselves compromising their vision to provide a game that appeals to a wider audience due to the frothing demand for achievements?  It seems like they are.  Adding online content, online trophies, and various other extras to games that don’t really need them seem like pandering.  Some games force you to go online to get some of the achievements, necessitating play against others as well as paying for premium network access in the form of Xbox Live or Playstation Plus.  And gamers are falling for it.  In a recent discussion with a colleague, he informed me that he was replaying a game after finishing it so that he could “platinum” it because he loved the game so much.  When I asked him about the achievements though, he related that many of them were tedious and difficult to achieve.  After this discussion, I asked him about his game backlog and he admitted that he has games that he hasn’t even opened yet.  In other words, achievements are artificially inflating the average gameplay and dissuading gamers from moving on to the next title, regardless of the next game’s quality, even after they’ve finished a game and have stopped enjoying it.

It seems to me like this is an issue that gamers should actually take seriously.  Not because it matters whether you play for score, but because game developers take it seriously and they design games based on the trends of the market and the input they receive online.  The best games, the ones that everyone raves about for years or even decades, are the ones that provide an uncompromised creative vision.  These games are at the top of everyone’s list for a reason.  They were designed to enjoy, not to appeal to every single person, and that makes them rise above.  Too few of those games exist these days, and fewer are released every year.  Maybe if we focus a little less on finding every flag or using every weapon for a thousand headshots or revealing every single tenth of a percentage point of every single map and a little more on just immersing ourselves in the fun a game can provide, we’ll all get a bit more enjoyment out of gaming.   Try turning off your notifications for a game or two and see if you have more fun.  If you don’t know you’re missing out…maybe you aren’t.

 

Source 1  Source 2  Source 3  Source 4

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Castlevania is one of the most beloved series of all time, but has been allowed to lie in neglect for far too long. However, recent events have caused me to wonder if there is a chance to revive the series still. Nintendo worked with Konami to bring back Bomberman for the launch of the Nintendo Switch, which ended up as a major success for the two. This made me wonder if nowthat Bomberman has seen successful opening week numbers, Konami might try to work with Nintendo to revive Castlevania as well. However, there is still the issue that without IGA at Konami, a metroidvania take on the games wouldn’t be the same as before. After all, IGA is now working on Bloodstained, and I doubt he is on good terms with Konami still.

There are some possible good ways to revive the series, such as by licensing it out to Platinum Games.Hideki Kamiya and other developers there are major fans of the series, and a Castlevania game made by them would be an amazing action game, that would finally avert the nature of the 3D games to be lesser games in terms of quality. It could be the next successor to Bayonetta even, much like Bayonetta was the successor to Devil May Cry, which was influenced by Castlevania.

However, there option for who to make the game and it might be an even better choice. From Software’s Souls series is often considered the spiritual successor to the Castlevania games. In fact, it is considered the successor to both the classic and metroidvania games, and for them to get to work on the series itself would be a chance for a fresh new take on the series that would attract a new audience. From could give it a unique feel and identity,  one that merges the  feel of the souls series with the lore and feel of Castlevania. Plus they would be able to create a truly punishing game, similar to the NES games.

I feel this is a way to create a new Castlevania experience that doesn’t just retread past territory, and both of this paths offer a bold direction for the series. Either a strong action series, or a atmospheric and challenging game. This could be what Castlevania needs and I hope Nintendo and Konami agree to do something like this. It is our best hope for the series’ future.

 

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of ROG or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 May, 2017 At 06:48 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Switch has been out for a while now, and two of its biggest games were ports from the Wii U, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. There has also been a port of Lego City Undercover and there has been speculation on more coming. Some have started complaining and feel they do not want Wii U ports as they would rather have new games and new experiences. as they see the large amount of ports on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as a bad route for Switch.

This however, somewhat misguided. The Wii U did not sell well, and most of its game have not reached a wide audience. Ports to the Switch would be an opportunity for more to experience games like Pokken Tournament, like Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, like Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and so on. Games like Fatal Frame Maiden of Black Water and  Bayonetta 2 would be given a wider audience this way, and we could potentially see new sequels because ports do well. The fact is, the games did low numbers and they can be saved by ports.

Ports to the Switch would help by giving more games that can fill out the release scheduled and avoid droughts. Ports will likely be handled by outside parties and not Nintendo themselves, and there is nothing stopping Nintendo from releasing both new games and remasters on the Switch. I would even say that it comes off as rather selfish to not want ports and remasters, because while you may have played these games on Wii U, others may not have because of the Wii U’s sales numbers. The Switch is bringing a large new audience to Nintendo, these new players  may want to play games they may have missed on the Wii U. It just makes sense to have ports, and not doing it would be leaving money on the table. I hope you can understand where I am coming from with this. It feels elitist and reeks of snobbery to hate ports this way.

 

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The above was the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect ROG or its staff

By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 May, 2017 At 02:46 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Guilty Gear has undergone a major resurgence of late. It began with Guilty Gear Xrd Sign and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. The latest release in the series is Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2, but does it really offer much in comparison to Gulty Gear Xrd Revelator? Or should you avoid it?

I will begin by stating what I felt to be a key point. The combat has been refined yet again by Arc System Works and is smoother than ever. The game continues experimenting with different playstyles for players who do not want the standard inputs and that is highly commendable. Along with the amazing tutorial, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 has the unique nature of appealing to two different groups of players at the same time. I must say again about the tutorial, in that it is one of the best tutorials ever made for a fighting game. It teaches you exactly how to play a fighting game if you were unfamiliar and will help you not only in this game but others as well.

The revised combat has more than a few balance adjustments. I would say that most fans will notice them depending on the time they put in to the previous game, the more time the more you will notice and vice versa. More notably in my opinion, is that there are animation additions almost everywhere. This is just a gorgeous 2.5D fighting game and I do not think I have ever seen a better one. Everything just feels smooth and fluid. My complaints about the little moments of stiffness in Revelator are gone, and even the online works so much better. It seems Arc System Works took each and every criticism to heart and set out to make the ultimate Guilty Gear game. I have to say that in my opinion, they succeeded. The music is top notch as always in the series, but it just feels even more epic here. It feels that the music has been kicked up a notch or three and that gives the game a more exciting feeling.

In terms of the roster, there are two additions, Baiken and Answer. Answer is a difficult character to learn, but very rewarding, while Baiken is true to past iterations. I like that not much was changed in terms of the roster, but what was added, were well done and excellent additions.

There are of course multiple online modes and story modes, as to be expected in a Guilty Gear game, and to be honest, I feel this is one of the most complete fighting games around. With its cheaper price ( and even cheaper digital price if bought as a DLC  upgrade), I cannot recommend this enough. Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2 is just an awesome game all around, and one of the best fighting games for both fans and newcomers to the genre. I urge you to check this out as soon as you can. You will not regret buying this game anytime.

By Ural Garrett On 26 May, 2017 At 12:21 AM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Reviews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarPlayground Games could have simply felt continent with having the premiere open world racer with Forza Horizon 3. The Australian Outback was a perfect location featuring loads of varied geography, the level of customization from vehicles to online play were insane and the Xbox One exclusive just played sublime regardless of the arcade/sim lean a player wanted.

Makes sense as to why the game till this day retains a 91 percent Metacritic score while selling over 2.5 million units. Instead, developers of the series continue to put the same amount of attention into Forza Horizon 3’s expansions starting with the Blizzard Mountain in late 2016. Despite being a blast drifting through the snow in the latest All-Wheel-Drive vehicles, more conventional vehicles or high priced exotics were pushed to the side (even with the added snow tire option.) Now, Playground has upped the ante and much more through their Hot Wheels expansion.

First, the track design does an amazing job blending the cherished childhood moments of miniature cars racing on plastic winding and twisting orange tracks with the grounded feel that’s made the Forza series so palatable to racing fans.

And, the map is fairly large.

A giant Hot Wheels track on an isolated island also feature hallmarks of the brand. Loops, sharp bends, boost sections, extremely ludicrous jumps specialized cars and even random T-Rex’s make its way into damn near every corner of the map. Also, the track design transitions from dirt road to the pavement in a way similar to the Australian Outback making it feel more entertaining than Blizzard Mountain. This means that there’s enough variety for those who want to drive a suped up Acura Integra, Ferrari 458 or Ford 150 Raptor without feeling out of place. Keeping with the Hot Wheels theme, some races even feature cross sections which only adds to the tension. The track design at times literally seems to rival the over-the-top feel of Mario Kart 8.  

The Forza Horizon series has evolved into the best open world racer one can get this generation and always serve as something for those who don’t appreciate the more technical driving nature of Forza Motorsports. With the Hot Wheels expansion, an already fantastic racing experience gets even better.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 May, 2017 At 09:53 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Opinion, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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LJN is one of the most reviled names in retro gaming. The publisher put out some of the worst games on the NES, SNES and other systems, but not all their games were bad. One game that tends to get a lot of hate is Back to the Future on NES but I feel this hate is unwarranted, and the game is actually nowhere near as bad as is claimed.

Back To The Future admittedly does have a bizarre way of adapting the game, and it seems to have nothing to do with the movie at first. I was one of many people who thought this until it was made apparent what I was missing. Back to the Future on NES plays much like an arcade game more than anything else, and its various levels and styles all play like something out of an 80’s arcade game. While we may remember the big names like Street Fighter, Final Fight and Smash TV, the truth is that there were many arcade games that were just like Back to the Future. When looked at in that context it becomes a lot easier to see what the developers were going for and I can appreciate it. Indeed, the levels on the streets are the most reminiscent of this style, especially with getting power-ups like skateboards and weapons. It is clear what the developers were going for, even if they didn’t hit the mark.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this is an amazing hidden gem for the NES ( though I would argue another LJN licensed game, Nightmare on Elm Street, actually is a hidden gem), and there is a difference between “not a bad game” and “a great game”. I view Back to The Future on NES as more middle of the road, nothing too bad but not anything great. I actually managed to have fun wasting time with it, and even the side levels like catching hearts or catching notes were fun. Arcade games would often have hard segments like this to guzzle more quarters, so again, I get what they were going for.

Now, I will address the major complain people have. The music is atrocious and cannot be defended as it is. The thing is, the music was not supposed to be like that. The music as composed, was a faithful 8 Bit rendition of the music from the movie. Now I have heard two explanations for what happened with the music to make it what it was. One explanation was that the music had to be licensed separately and when this was found out, it was sped up to hide it. The other explanation is that it was programed into the game wrong and it was sped up and not fixed due to the game being rushed out.

If you do not believe me about the music then listen to this

 

 

 

All in all, Back to the Future on NES cant really be called a terrible game. Its just kind of there. It can be enjoyed and for all the complaints about Marty looking weird, even faithful licensed games like Batman made strange choices in character appearances. I don’t understand the hate and I thank people like 8-Bit Eric for helping make me aware of the game’s good qualities . I encourage you to try the game again and consider it from this perspective. Just avoid Back to the Future II and III on NES, as that game is truly horrible.

 

(Thank you to Larry Bundy Jr for sharing the video above. You can check out his youtube channel here , I highly recommend it)

(Check out 8-Bit Eric’s channel here.)

The article was inspired by Cygnus destroyer ( Check him out here)

The above was the opinion solely of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Real Otaku Gamer and its staff

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The Nintendo GameCube era was a time of experimentation for Nintendo. It was during this time that we got games like F-Zero GX via a collaboration with Sega, Metroid Prime and Eternal Darkness. All of these are classic games still loved by players, but there is one game that Nintendo published for the GameCube that sticks out like a sore thumb.

Geist was developed by n-Space, who were under contract with Nintendo at the time. The game went through a period of development hell and was delayed numerous times, as well as undergoing numerous revisions. What started out as a horror themed sci-fi FPS eventually became a first person horror adventure that was a bit of a disjointed mess. The game had some great ideas, such as possessing characters in order to interact with the world, but it was badly handled and was a deeply unsatisfactory experience. The thing is, some of the great ideas the game had, have been used by other games since in some form or another, including Prey to an extent, and these were handled extremely well.

Geist’s problems can be attributed to the horrible development cycle it had, and if given a new developer with a proven track record for success, the game could be rebooted and given a fresh start. There is new tech available today for game design, people are thinking outside the box, and the game’s ideas can be made into a truly epic sci-fi horror game.

But what developer/studio could revive the IP in a successful way, and that Nintendo could trust? The answer is for Nintendo to look inward, as they have the perfect studio to work on it. Retro Studios works best on games that have a western focus/appeal more to the west, and if they are not working on Metroid or Donley Kong, this would be a perfect new project for them to handle. They have the pedigree for amazing sci-fi games and are masters of intricate game design. Moreover, they have the Nintendo design philosophy down pat and can be trusted to deliver a true polished game. People were skeptical about Metroid Prime at first but it is regarded as one of the best games ever made. Their Donkey Kong games are some of the best platformers ever made and have great attention to detail to the extent that they won people over, when they were upset at the idea of Retro working on that series.

Retro could make Geist their big epic project for the Switch and create a new experience for fans. It could be what the original was supposed to be, but on a bigger scale. Moreover, Nintendo is now more open to these kind of games and given the reception many of these games have, it would be amazing for Nintendo to have one of their own, designed in-house, with a top tier developer behind it. Geist had some amazing ideas that weren’t used properly and Retro Studios is the ideal studio to take this IP and turn it into a success.

 

By Kira Nance On 17 May, 2017 At 05:47 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarFirst and foremost, I would like you to take into consideration the fact that getting myself to write this review is comparable to pulling teeth. The moment I began my complicated relationship with Rise and Shine I was immediately taken back by the beauty of the beast. Oh man, is this a beautiful game, but beauty is only skin deep after all. While platformers at not my specialty they are also not my Achilles heel, yet I consistently found myself in the position where I was too frustrated to continue. Rise & Shine is a little bit like being in an unhealthy relationship and being too stubborn to leave. Perhaps like dating a supermodel whom, while she is beautiful, is so very used to going on looks alone that they fail to nurture other aspects of their being. I wanted to love this game, perhaps I still do but that’s not necessarily a good thing. 

It’s no surprise that Adult Swim Games has, as of late been dipping their toe into the proverbial pool that is console gaming. After the success of titles such as Katana Zero, Headlander and Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality it makes perfect sense. The folks over at Adult Swim bring a refreshing attitude to the entertainment table, expressing a strong desire to provide quality entertainment over profit “We don’t have an agenda to sell something. For us, we want to create a really amazing experience.”  said Adult Swim’s Ashley Jex-Wagner, director of events “That’s the most important thing for us is for everyone to have a good time“. 

It seems the developers at Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team are on the same page. In an interview with Invision Community, Enrique Corts (Art Director, Creative Director) stated “Our focus has always been making really polished hardcore games that add something fresh to the table. We believe in making things properly since day one, so we only launch our games when they are completely ready and as much bug-free as possible, even if that means we risk our financial health. Sometimes is really tough having our own quality bar so high, but this is the only way to success we understand.

The four-person team based out of Spain has already seen success in the mobile market with Editor’s Choice titles, Pro Zombie Soccer, Pro Zombie Soccer Apocalypse Edition, and Supermagical, all of which have received Game of the Year in the App Store. Rise & Shine is Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team’s first PC/console title release and consequently my latest headache. So, the big question here is did Adult Swim and Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team accomplishes their goal to provide us with enjoyable quality content? Well, I’d have to say yes and no.

With the combined powers of Adult Swim Games and Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team, comes Rise & Shine a true “think and gun” gem that while frustrating is definitely worth your time. Rise & Shine is basically a playable homage to classic video games. Warped versions of beloved characters such as Link, Marcus Fenix, Q*bert and the Duck Hunt dog make hilarious appearances. The gameplay itself is a bit of a throwback, think Metal Slug meets Contra. This 2-D side-scrolling shooter is anything but basic, sometimes it’s even overly complicated. There’s a cover system to employ similar to the one used in Gears of War but this doesn’t ensure safety from all enemies especially the more volatile ones. Combining aspects of arcade shooters, bullet hells, and puzzle platformers staying focused in Rise & Shine is a major challenge in itself.

You play as Rise, a young boy of Gamearth, who upon receiving a legendary smack talking gun by the name of Shine suddenly becomes his planets greatest hope for survival against the invading Nexgen. You gun your way through 14 levels of unique puzzles, endless robot armadas, hungry zombies and intimidating bosses. Shine also conveniently bestows his wielder with unlimited respawns, unless you share the likeness of Link apparently. Unlimited lives, thank you, Shine, I thoroughly tested those boundaries. You have the choice to load Shine with his standard ammo or electric bullets, electric doing more damage to some enemies and next to nothing against others. Rise & Shine also grants you fun explosive bullets to detonate at will and the ability to guide your bullets remotely (RC), though only through a limited radius. Utilizing each bullet type is essential for navigating the puzzle solving, projectile dodging, enemy slaying chaos that is Rise & Shine. Bosses are no joke, only adding to the retro gaming atmosphere here, for example, the final boss takes upwards of 90 minutes to beat. 90 painfully tedious minutes. Considering the game consist of a mere two hours of actual gameplay with almost no storyline to spice things up, I found this to be severely annoying. I’m sure eighty percent of my time was spent severely immersed in boss fights. Taking damage is never an option as two hits from a base level enemy or projectile is enough to kill you at any point. Mastering the fine art of bullet spray is probably the best defense in Rise & Shine and quite possibly the best way to stay sane. 

The controls are slightly over complicated, requiring you to aim with the left trigger, shoot with the right trigger and guidance is provided by the right stick. When your screen is full of enemies, storms of bullets, lasers, and explosions this less that kind control system gets in the way. add in the bumpers to cycle through ammunition all while dodging, jumping and dashing to avoid getting hit. Oh, and don’t forget to reload. Seriously I’m exhausted just explaining all that.

Visually, the folks at Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team nailed it. This is where the quality of the game shines through. The story while lacking in detail, plays out in charming comic panels that showcase the developers love for comic books. Each level’s background is made up of hand-drawn illustrations with multiple parallax scroll layers, giving new depth to each scene as you progress. I seriously lost myself in the artwork of Rise & Shine, it was easy to imagine myself gallivanting around the streets of Gamearth blasting away space grunts. The in-game audio and soundtrack are top notch thanks to the talent of Jerry Goldsmith Award nominee Damián Sánchez (Reservoir Dogs, Blues and Bullets). However, aesthetics alone cannot carry a game and Rise & Shine left me raging in the end. It’s a title deserving of your time and respect but I can’t in good conscience recommend it for anyone with anger issues.

Review code was provided by the publisher.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 May, 2017 At 11:10 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Disgaea is a well loved Strategy RPG series that made its home on PlayStation systems, although it did have an entry on the DS. Now the series has returned to Nintendo systems with Disgaea 5 Complete on the Switch. This contains Disgaea 5 as it was on PlayStation 4, and has all the DLC that came with it.

Disgaea 5 is about a conflict between demons in the various netherworlds and has a fully realized plot and characters. In fact, the characters are a major selling point for this game. There is the protagonist Killia, the overlord of Gorgeous Seraphina, Red Magnus and more. Each character has a unique personality and mannerisms and the various interactions they have in the game are always great to watch. Sometimes they are downright hilarious, especially Red Magnus, who is based off pro wrestlers like the Rock.

The gameplay, for those who are not familiar with Disgaea, is similar to the Final Fantasy Tactics series, with battles set up in the same way. You advance around the battlefield and plan your moves carefully. You can team up characters for attacks, throw characters to move farther, and combo your moves. Different battlefields will have different obstacles and each character has unique abilities, including passive abilities that will provide either new challenges or new ways of winning. Disgaea is essentially a 3D game of chess with better visuals and great storytelling. Once you get the idea of what to do, you will start to have a lot of fun and lose yourself in it. Characters have unique moves as well such as the overload, and the different moves for the monsters. Each character has to be handled differently which offers a challenge and a good sense of reward. When you hit the right move, you will be amazed at what you can do.

Then there are the recruitable classes, whom you can interact with when off the battlefield. There are numerous classes that you can hire and customize, including their personalities. This means you can set up your party to be exactly the way you want it, which is a great touch. Speaking of being off the battlefield, there is a great overworld of sorts, with Seraphina’s pocket netherworld serving as your base. there are shops to go to, different characters to interact with, and more skits available. As you progress in the game, you unlock more characters and the world changes a bit each time. The characters are great, with witty dialogue and good voice acting. In fact now is the time to mention that Disgaea 5 has some of the best voice acting ever in a game, along with some amazing music. The visuals are a perfect match for the sound and the skits become great to watch as a result.

If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of a tactical RPG, Disgaea 5 offers several tutorials on how to play the game, each offered when starting a new part of the game or exploring a new mechanic. These do a great job of explaining things and getting you up to speed. If you feel these tutorials aren’t necessary though, then they can be skipped completely and you wont need to worry about hand holding the entire time. The game has a perfect balance with the tutorials and I recommend checking some out.

One thing I found very cool, is that the game still has Trophies from the PS4 version. They even sound have the same sound effect and can be seen by talking to a character in Seraphina’s base.

As mentioned, this version of the game has all the DLC and it is obtainable right away. You have your choice of when you access it though, so don’t feel rushed to use it all.

Disgaea 5 is an excellent experience on the Switch. Whether docked or in handheld mode, this was a lot of fun, and I lost hours to this. I highly recommend checking this out as it is one of the best games for the Switch right now. You will not regret this.

 

A code was provided for this review.